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Full text of "Juliet"

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JULIET. 



The lyf e so short, the craft so long to learn . 
The assay so hard, so sharp the conquering." 

Chauceb. 

" I ask thee for a faithful love, 
Through constant watching, wise." 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 



VOL. III. 




LONDON 

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON, NEW BURLINGTON ST. 

publisl^rs in (Drbinarg to Jfcr gTajwfg i\i djujecn. 

1883. 




CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 
" We Ken how the Tarn Lips " 



* • 



PAGE 
I 



CHAPTER II. 
Hopes, Fulfilled and Unfulfilled 



36 



CHAPTER III. 



With Merlin 



74 



CHAPTER IV 



" Check ! " 



107 



CHAPTER V. 



Mosaics 



12 



iv CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER VI. 
"Will You be My Wife?" . . . .157 



CHAPTER VII. 
Facts and Figures 192 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Evelyn, the Temptress 218 

CHAPTER IX. 
Nemesis 256 

CHAPTER X. 
"Fortune, Turn Thy Wheel" ... 276 




JULIET. 



CHAPTER I. 



" WE KEN HOW THE TARN LIPS." 



At the end of that summer, Murdock one 
day announced that he should be going over 
to Hipsley soon ; and Hipsley being the little 
town where Molly was born, and whose 
churchyard held her father's and mother's 
graves, the thought at once flashed into her 
mind that she should like to £0 with him. 
But when she proposed that they should 
drive over together, he scowled and swore 
at her, and she had to give up the idea. 



vo\. III. 



2 JULIET. 

Murdock certainly could not have taken her, 
considering the nature of his business there. 
Of the six hundred pounds left her by her 
father, there still remained in the Hipsley 
Bank something above one hundred, and 
this he was now ^oino- to withdraw for his 
own use, thus sending it in the same direc- 
tion as the rest had gone. This step must 
be taken at once if at all. Molly was on the 
verge of twenty-one, and Mrs. Ormrod had 
constantly assured him that when she 
reached that age she should be advised to 
look after her own affairs. This being on 
the assumption that there were six hundred 
pounds to look after, while there was only 
one-sixth part of that amount, he shrewdly 
thought there might as well be none. He 
had made full use of his power over her for- 
tune, and this full use had taken the form of 
full abuse, for it had gradually found its way 
to his pockets, and from thence to those of 
his creditors. This was the more repie- 



" WE KEN HO W THE TARN LIPSr 3 

hensible, from the fact that there had been a 
Will, and that in that Will he was simply a 
trustee conjointly with his sister's husband, 
while it was further stipulated that Molly 
should live with the Ormrods. When An- 
thony died, this Will was under his pillow, 
Matthew having taken it at his bidding from 
the great brass-bound desk in the parlour ; 
and had one more hour of life been vouch- 
safed him, it would have been placed in a 
lawyer's hands. Another spasm came on 
before this was accomplished, fatal uncon- 
sciousness followed, Matthew snatched forth 
the Will before leaving the room, and in- 
formed the lawyer that it having been 
destroyed, Anthony had wanted his services 
in preparing another. This bore the stamp 
of possibility, and left no room for anything 
more damning than suspicion, and for sus- 
picion Murdock did not care a jot. On the 
contrary, he enjoyed it in a fashion peculiar 
to himself, chuckling dryly over the know- 



4 JULIET. 

ledge that they could not prove its justice, 

and determining that when he was dead this 

power should be theirs. With this object in 

view he did not destroy the Will, but further 

enjoyed the situation by taking it in his 

pocket on driving Molly home to Alderdale, 

and hiding it in a little secret cupboard in 

the wainscot of the kitchen. It was his 

intention, if he died in his bed, to send 

Molly down at the last moment to find the 

cupboard and bring him the sealed envelope 

it contained. Thus he should die with it 

beside him, and the people around would 

naturally take it to be his Will. On opening 

it, they would find it was Anthony's, and 

knowing that none of those carefully-stored 

monies was forthcoming, no touch of the 

irony of Fate would pass unrealized by 

Molly and her many friends — a diabolical 

plan destined to frustration. 

He started for Hipsley early in the day, 
going off before Molly was down, as though 



" WE KEN HO W THE TARN LIPSr 5 

he wished to avoid her. She heard the 
clatter of his horse's hoofs in the yard, and 
sprang out of bed to watch him out of sight 
under the sycamores. It was a glorious 
August morning, and the Moss was purple 
with the full bloom of the ling. A fresh 
breeze was blowing, and the broad sunshine 
was constantly eclipsed by the swoop of the 
cloud-shadows over the hills. She opened 
her window when she was dressed, and leant 
out with her elbows on the sill and her face 
towards the breeze. She knew it w r as an 

exhilarating breeze, and was vexed because 

<_> * 

it rather depressed than exhilarated her. She 
was curiously divided in her mind between 
relief at Murdoch's absence for a whole day 
and a presentiment of misfortune. All day 
this presentiment deepened, although the 
weather did not change and the sunset was 
one of rare glory. She saw its glow on the 
trees by the river as she was ironing in the 
window, and when she had finished work, 



6 JULIET. 

she went out to a gate looking- westward, and 
stood a lon^ - time watching the slow ebb and 
flow of colour that linked the hills with the 
sky, and was unutterably eloquent of the 
" glories that shall be revealed ' in the 
Hereafter. 

Afterwards, darkness came on quickly, 
and when she went in, it was too dusk in the 
kitchen to see to do anything. Some months 
ago she loved this twilight hour, and used to 
sit with her head against Tamars knee, 
staring dreamily into the fire, thinking of 
Ormrod. Now she hated it. It grave her a 
pang to find Tamar indulging in the tire- 
light, and she ran and plunged the poker into 
the peats, rousing a myriad flying sparks, and 
sending a ruddy glow quivering along the 
panels and dark old carven chests. Then 
she trimmed the lamp, and went to the win- 
dow to draw down the blind. 

But instead of doing so, she pressed her 
face against the glass, and looked out into 



" WE KEN HO W THE TARN LIPS." 7 

the gloom, seeing nothing, but thinking with 
painful strained acuteness, until Tamar had 
finished laying the table for Murdock's 
supper, and coming up behind, placed her 
hands firmly on her shoulders, and turned 
her to the light. Tamar, however, saw so 
white a face, that playfulness quickly gave 
way to anxiety, 

" What's the matter ? " she said. "Why, 
lassie, you might have seen a bogie." 

Molly laughed, but shivered. 

" Don't talk of ghosts," she said. * It'll 
frighten me to-night. It seems to me very 
dree, it's so wonderfully still out of doors, 
just a few stars twinkling, and a pale mist 
stealing over the river like a winding- 
cloth." 

"Winding-cloth ! " cried Tamar. "What 
do you ken of winding-cloths ? There's 
swaddling-clothes to come first with such 
as you. Hoots, hoots! that's a nice 
fancy ! We'll go out to the front and 



8 JULIET. 

see it close, and listen if we'll hear Matthew 
along the road; it's getting time he was 
coming." 

To Moll) r , the thought of going out into 
that quiet gloom, that was certainly void of 
living creatures, and yet seemed to her quick 
fancy, peopled with whirling eddies of them, 
careering to and fro betwixt her and the sky, 
was almost intolerable. But Tamar was bent 
on eoiner, and idancinof round into the dim 
and eerie corners of the great kitchen. Molly 
chose the horror in which she would at least 
have companionship, and ran after her down 
to the door. In a moment they had unbolted 
it, and stepped out. 

All was very still, and it was strange to 
catch the muffled sound of the water under 
the mists, stealthily settling above it. Tamar 
went to the river's brink, and Molly followed 
not daring to stand still, and appalled by the 
large vagueness of the figure in advance of 
her. Inst then, Tamar spoke, and her bolj.1 



" WE KEN HO W THE TARN LIPS." 



staccato infused some courage into her sink- 
ing" heart. 

" This is no cobweb, my certie," she said, 
waving- her arms in the fog. " It's more 
porridge nor steam, and I lay it'll be on the 
tops too, after such heat as we've been hav- 
ing. It's a deal nastier on the tops than here 
— filling all the dubs and hollows ; and I wish 
Matthew was safely over the moor." 

Molly shuddered ; she had never heard the 
word " dub " since Brunskill described his 
father's death, and it brought that scene 
vividly before her once more. She put her 
hand on Tamar's arm, and they stood listen- 
ing breathlessly towards the road. But there 
was no sound save the muffled gurgle of water. 

A pale glow, that had all the while 
been deepening, now tinged the mists, and 
burst on the long low frontage of the house, 
dimming the light shining through the 
kitchen window, and picking out the gloss 
of the ivy clustering thickly round the little 



io JULIET. 

shrine above the door. They looked up to 
Blaesfield, where the moon had risen, and 
was riding serenely in a cloudless sky. Its 
light was so piercing, so silent and strong, 
and seemed to be so directly on them, that 
even Tamar felt a touch of something far 
from confidence. 

" I'll be having fancies too, if we stay 
here much longer," she said, brusquely. 
" This light's fair awful ; it's maddling my 
brain as well as my eyes. Come along in, 
my " 

They were walking towards the open 
door, but all power, either to move or speak, 
was at that moment arrested, bv a sound 
that, though very distant, reached them 
clearly. It was a sound, half shout, half 
cry, and it curdled the blood in their veins. 
They looked at each other with dilated eyes. 
involuntarily standing still, huddled close 
together, and listening, fascinated, for it to 
come again. 

4> 



" WE KEN HO W THE TARN LIPS." 1 1 



It did come again, and with a more 
appalling distinctness. This time it was a 
shriek, short and sharp. Then once more 
all was still. 

But Molly could stand this no longer. 
She loosened her convulsive grip on Tamar's 
arm, and ran in, terrified of everything, feel- 
ing that something intangible stood by her, 
was touching her, breathing in her face ; not 
knowing whether the kitchen, with its one 
flaring light, or the ghostly moonlit space out- 
side, were the safer. That agonized, sharp 
cry rang in her ears, the mists were curling 
and writhing in fantastic forms before her 
eyes. She could have screamed as she stood 
there alone, overwhelmed with horrible fears 
and presentiments, sick and trembling, her 
face pale, and tears of absolute terror in her 
eyes. It seemed as though Tamar would 
never get the door bolted. 

"What was it?' she asked breathlessly 
when at last she appeared. 



12 JULIET. 

" God A'mighty ! I canna ken if it wer 
man or beast," said Tamar. 

" Oh, it was a man ! ' Molly said. 

She drew close to her as she spoke, and 
Tamar took her in her arms and cuddled her 
head against her breast, as she felt her un- 
controllable shivering-. 

" What do you think has happened ? ' 
Molly said. 

11 There's the Tarn," Tamar said; "we 
ken how its edge lips and the water sucks. 
He'd never see his whereabouts if this fog 
was on the tops — the dubs would be chock- 
full of it." 

Molly did not speak. She too had 
thought of the Tarn, and that Tamar should 
have done so, brought conviction with it. 
She sat down on the settle, and nothing w 
said. Tamar made a feint at her usual bustle, 
but although she stirred the tire and hung 
the kettle on the rekken, she knew Matthew 
would not come. They waited for hours 



" WE KEN HOW THE TARN LIPSr 13 

thus ; until the lamp went out, and streaks of 
moonshine broadened on the floor, and then 
as gradually lessened, after which everything 
grew dark and chill, and, unable to bear the 
unutterable dreariness any longer, they got 
up. cramped and weary, and went to bed to 
rest, if not to sleep. Molly, however, soon 
fell asleep, and did not awake until the sun 
was hiorh in the skv> But Tamar went down 
at daybreak. She had heard a sound in the 
fold-yard, which she was certain she could 
not have mistaken — a low whinny now and 
then, and the rattle of iron against stone, as 
though a stirrup were swinging against the 
wall from some uncertain groping motion ; 
and when she opened the back door and went 
across into the calf-garth, she found Mur- 
dock's horse grazing restlessly up and down, 
one stirrup torn from the saddle and a fore- 
foot crushed, as though a heavy stone had 
fallen upon it. Thus it was evident some- 
thing had happened to -Murdock, but quite 



i 4 JULIET. 

possible that he might still be alive, a possi- 
bility which sent her quickly up to Carting at 
the High Farm ; and within an hour a search 
party was organized, and took their way 
straight up Alderdale Glen, and then out on 
to the Moors. The Tarn lay about a mile 
away, and for it they made. There were foot- 
marks in a straight line through, the slime on 
the eastern side ; foot-marks that came over 
the brow of the moor and became confused 
and abundant a few yards from the water, 
then having diverged to the north, went on 
again to the water's edge ; and where they 
stopped, there was a great break in the lip- 
ping bank, as though it had given way 
under an unusual weight. The men went 
as near as they dare to a spot that had 
always been shunned alike by man and beast ; 
but there was no further trace of fatal catas- 
trophe, nothing to make it certain that a 
human life had been lost there a few hours 
before. It was, however, very certain that 



" WE KEN HOW THE TARN LIPS" 15 

some one had been to the edofe of that black 
Tarn, that the ground had crumbled and slid 
beneath something, and that if man or beast 
once fell into those waters, whose sinister 
suck and ooze could be heard at some dis- 
tance, there was no possibility of rescue. 
They felt, to a man, that Murdock was 
drowned. 

And in very truth he was. 

Never had the moors looked more deso- 
late than as he ascended the hill from the 
valley east of Wherndale, where Hipsley 
lay. He was in a surly mood, too, having 
been baulked of his intentions by the Bank 
manager being from home on urgent busi- 
ness, and his clerk refusing the withdrawal 
of so large a sum in his absence. Disap- 
pointment drove him to the inn, where he 
drank sufficient to excite without stupefy- 
ing him. Had he been stupefied he might 
have been safe, for the horse would have 
taken its own way home ; but as it w r as, he 



1 6 JULIET. 

was left with a will and opinion of his own, 
and stubbornness to exert both. The valley 
he left was exceptionally barren, its hill-sides 
checked out into stingy fields, its rare farm- 
steads unsheltered by the orthodox wind 
blown clumps of larches, its ridges uncrowned 
by heather, its stream-courses free Irom 
bracken or birch. Miles of moor stretched 
before him, and soon there was no sign of 
human habitation left. To the ri^ht the linLT 
swelled away to the horizon without other 
break than a line of tumble-down turf-butts ; 
to the left it presently sank into a gully, 
beyond which rose the crater-like table of 
Dead-man's Hill. The whole of this was 
at first illumined by the lurid sunset ; but 
no sooner had it faded than treacherous 
mist gathered in the hollows. Murdock was 

o 

riding with drooping reins, and brood in- 
over his ill-luck ; and left so far to itself, the 
horse had struck off the main road into the 
grassy track, that led crosswise to a point 



" WE KEN HO IV THE TARN LIPS^ 1 7 

directly above Alderdale. It was when it 
stumbled against a stone that Murdock first 
looked up, and found himself fronting a line 
of mist hovering about a foot from the 
ground. He pulled up shortly with an oath, 
wheeled round in his saddle, and saw a simi- 
lar line behind him. In a moment he lost 
nerve and coolness. It seemed to his excited 
brain that each was advancing to the other, 
and would crush him between them. There 
was no wind, they could float where they 
would. He looked up, and the sky, too, was 
ghastly, as though veiled by vapour. With 
another oath he struck his spurs suddenly 
into his horse's flanks. It bounded forward, 
and in a few moments stumbled again, its 
shoes rinofin^ on a rock. The sound filled 
him with terror. There were no rocks on 
that track ; he had lost his way. With chill 
fear shooting through every fibre of his body, 
he then swung off horseback and groped 
vainly about ; but forgetting to keep hold of 

VOL. III. 2 



1 8 JULIET. 

the bridle, the horse wandered off from him, 
and no amount of shouting or whistling- 
brought it back. The fact that he was lost 
on the moors and absolutely alone, was over- 
whelming. He had a superstitious horror of 
midnight, and shrank from the wise course of 
keeping quiet until morning, when in all 
probability the fog would lift ; urged by 
vague apprehension of danger, he persisted 
in a foolhardy attempt at recovering his bear- 
ings and making his way home by Fate or 
Providence. For an hour he stumbled on, 
over rocks, splashing through pools, losing 
foothold in the deep ling, and never seeing a 
yard before him. There was something 
devilish in those mists. They amused them- 
selves by softly coiling and uncoiling round 
him, now covering him with thin mizzle, 
then withdrawing, so as to raise the keenest 
expectation of their total disappearance. 
When the moon rose, its suffusing light 
seemed to dissipate them, but it was net so ; 



" WE KEN BOW THE TARN LIPS." 19 

they were still there, steaming from the 
ground in every direction, and Murdock 
plunged on recklessly, breathing defiance to 
their trickishness. 

Up hill and down hill he tramped, no- 
thing impeding his progress, and forgetful 
that anything might. He did not think of 
Alderdale Tarn, lying in its wide hollow, 
with lipping banks and sucking water ; and 
thus, when it suddenly struck him that he 
was going down a long and very gradual 
slope, he had no presentiment of the special 
peril into which he was steadily walking. 
Even when the ling ceased, and he sank 
every fourth step or so up to his boot-tops in 
slime, he plunged on without foreboding. 

But all at once the ground beneath him 
loosened and slid. He lost his balance and 
fell backward, uttering the shout that reached 
Alderdale, a mile away. Impelled by urgent 
terror, he scrambled to his feet again. And 
now it flashed across him where he was. 



2o JULIET. 

With an oath, he turned to fly the evil place, 
but felt the ground slide again, and, becom- 
ing confused, forgot how he had come and 
how he was going, whether he were advanc- 
ing or retreating. The mist was so thick 
it stifled him. He felt dizzy, lost, undone. 
Harassed and terrified, knowing himself to 
be face to face with death, conscience- 
stricken and mentally agonized, he yet swore 
and cursed, with face blasphemously upturned 
and starting eyes like those of a throttled 
man. He stood a moment balancing him- 
self, but the very hills seemed to sway ; he 
distinctly heard the oozy gurgle of the water : 
to his maddened imagination there appeared 
a vague figure, tall as his brother Anthony, 
with beseeching eyes, like Anthony's child, 
whom he had wronged to the utmost of his 
power. It seemed to draw nearer. He 
thoueht of the Will in the wainscot ; would it 
ever be found ? — of the one hundred pounds 
still safe in Hipsley Bank, by no plan of his; 



" WE KEN HOW THE TARN LIPS? 21 

but for that damned fool of a fellow, there 
would have been nothing to show, the last 
farthing- would have gone where he was 
going. 

" Tony ! Tony ! keep quiet ! Back, 
man ! ' he shouted, and made a sudden 
bound forward. It was not peat, or slime, 
or moss, that his feet touched, but a lip of 
sandy soil interwoven with rotten ling fibre. 
It crumbled away beneath the pressure, tilt- 
ing him again forward. He threw out his 
arms with a wild shriek, groping for some- 
thing to clutch. But there was nothing ; he 
felt water against his face, the next moment 
it grimly closed above him ! 

Thus it came to pass that there was 
death at the old Grange ; but no corpse and 
no burying. For Murdock never rose from 
his watery grave. Men went daily for 
weeks ; but nothing was ever seen of him 
except his whip, which they one day recog- 
nized as it floated. They could not reach it, 



22 JULIET. 

and perhaps had the corpse floated — relin- 
quished from the ooze and mass of fibre — 
they might not have reached it either, for 
there was no possibility of safely nearing the 
banks. That the Tarn was his grave, how- 
ever, there was no doubt in the Dale. An 
evil place had taken an evil life, and many 
thought there was a great and terrible fit- 
ness in mortal events — especially shepherds, 
whose cares with their flocks compelled them 
now and then to hazard the loathsome un- 
canniness of that wide hollow, and who 
generally contrived to do it with substantial 
human company and in broad daylight. 

"What are you going to do?' Miss 
Gliddon asked one day, when she had 
walked over to Alderdale and found Molly 
alone. 

"We shall get away from here as soon 
as we can, and that is all I know for myself. 
Tamar will <ro amongst her own friends. 
She wants to stay with me ; but that is im- 



" WE KEN HO W THE TARN LIPSr 23 

possible. I can't live at ease ; I must 
work." 

"What shall you do?" Miss Gliddon 
asked a^ain. 

" Really and truly, I don't know," Molly 
said, with a troubled, nervous laugh, and 
then she looked, suddenly, straight at her. 
" One thing is certain, I shall never be mar- 
ried to Noll," she said, steadily. 

" No, my dear," was the quiet assent, 
after which they turned from personalities to 
gossipy matters of general interest. 

When Miss Gliddon rose to go home 
Molly said she would walk with her across 
the Moss, a companionship which would have 
been asked for had it not been spontaneously 
<dven, for Miss Gliddon had a sreat deal to 
say, and felt that it could be best said walk- 
ing. vShe had not come to Alderdale with- 
<_> 

out substantial practical means of comfort in 
her mind. She knew that Molly would be 
homeless ; it had already been discovered 



24 JULIET. 

that she was, too, almost moneyless ; and it 
was understood that her engagement was 
broken off. Here was a complication of 
misfortunes which her warm sympathy could 
not rest without relieving, and in this case 
the power to relieve was perfectly simple — 
Molly should come to the Vicarage as her 
companion, and should remain there until 
Brunskill won her to be permanently his. 
This was a plan after her own heart. 
Everything seemed to become plain and 
easy : there was nothing in the avowed part 
of it to wound Molly's feelings or rouse an 
inordinate degree of gratitude ; and the un- 
avowed part would work itself out. Brun- 
skill would be at the Vicarage constantly — 
he must be so, as usual — and time onlv was 
needed to accomplish his success. Miss 
Gliddon threw herself into the project with 
impetuous ardour, and now unfolded its 
first phase, with a confidence that was not 
misplaced. There was a pause when her 



" WE KEN HOW THE TARN LIPS." 25 



voice ceased, for Molly needed a few mo- 
ments to realize what such an offer involved ; 
but there was no hesitation in her own mind. 
She turned to her simply, holding out her 
hand. 

" Thank you," she said ; " you are making 
me very happy. I will come to you thank- 
fully, and if I honestly feel that I am of use 
to you, I will stay as long as you want me. 
I am sure I shall want to stay." 

" My dearest Molly, you will be invalu- 
able to me," Miss Gliddon exclaimed, in the 
exuberance of her delight. " The mere fact 
of havinof such fresh young" life about me 
will do me good, keep me from drying up 
mentally as well as physically. The worst 
of it is, I shall never want to part from you ; 
you'll make me selfish. No, you must not 
stay with me too long. I must guard against 
that, or in the end I shall be sacrificing you 
to my old whims and wants. However, for the 
present I shall look upon you as my own." 



26 JULIET. 

Molly's heart was too full for words. 
The relief was inexpressible. One moment 
she had not known where to turn for a roof, 
still more for sympathetic companionship ; 
the next, the load of uncertainty and sus- 
pense was removed, and she breathed freely, 
walked buoyantly again. It would have 
been impossible for her to go to the Orm- 
rods. Apart from the fact of dependence, 
she could not have borne to live with X oil's 
mother, who had never been friendlv since 
her en<>'aorement to him, and was ostenta- 
tiously satisfied with his desertion ; yet she 
had shrunk from the idea of leaving the 
Dale, with its manifold associations. ( )f 
such a stroke of ^ood fortune she had never 
thought, and she could scarcely yet think 
that it had fallen to her lot in very truth. 
She went far bevond the Moss with Miss 
Gliddon, her sense of relief and absolute 
content gathering- at each step, and giving a 
low to her cheeks and deep luininousness 






" WE KEN HO IV THE TARN LIPSr 27 



to her eyes, such as they had not yielded for 
many a day. 

Miss Gliddon had found her pale and 
quiet, moving to and fro with an intense, 
abstracted thoughtfulness, the result of cease- 
less perplexity and suspense ; she left her 
brimming over with frank contentment, a 
wholly new bent given to her thoughts, and 
that, one to which she could safely devote 
her brightest faith and hope in mortal things. 
As she went home alone, it seemed to her- 
self that she could shake off all grief now, 
and turn the page to a fairer and nobler 
chapter of her life, one that would be met 
with the sharpened perception of woman- 
hood, and loyally guarded against the de- 
liberate mistake of experience. Thus the 
mesh was coming through the tangle in her 
web, too, and again the instruments in God's 
hands were Jules and Ursula Gliddon — 
brother and sister — with large, w r arm hearts, 
and no further foresight in their own good- 



2 8 JULIET. 

ness than simple gratitude that it was in 
their power to be natural, and accomplish 
what nature prompted. 

About this time, Brunskill too paid his 
first visit to Alderdale since Murdock's death. 
Molly had been to Moorhead, and was re- 
turning over the Moss, when she met him. 
He had been at the Grange, and was walk- 
ing to meet her. So far he had kept away, 
feeling that her position was now so lonely, 
that to obtrude himself might be an intru- 
sion, and shrinking with the even morbid 
delicacy of a sensitive man from appearing 
to take any advantage of that position. He 
knew she would never turn to him only 
for her own sake ; or suffer her want of home 
and friends to influence her towards encou- 
raging him ; yet neither would she marry 
him for his sake, simply as a pitying reward 
for faithful affection. Thus there was not 
any ground as yet for confident hope, and 
at the same time he was intensely conscious 



" WE KEN HOW THE TARN LIPS." 29 



that never had his hope been so confident. 
He had even already served his own cause 
well by his absence. She had begun to 
wonder why he did not come, and when she 
should see him ; and now that a bend in the 
moorland road brought her face to face with 
him, her pale gravity changed at once to 
delight, and she looked up with a sudden, 
happy smile. 

He stood holding her hands and ear- 
nestly regarding her. 

" You don't look well," he said, at last. 

" Perhaps that cannot be wondered at." 

" You are right ; it cannot. But you 
must look better." 

11 I soon shall, when I come to the Vi- 
carage." 

" Yes, I suppose you are coming. I am 
very glad. How long must you wear that 
black gown?" touching it lightly, and with 
a look of strong distaste. 

"Not very long " 



3 o JULIET. 

" I don't like it at all," he interrupted, 
laughing shortly. " Good heavens! it seems 
to me preposterous that such as you should 
have to don the crow because safe death 
claimed such as he. One could not think 
more of it than that ' he who dies this vear 
is quit for the next.' And why should you 
disfigure yourself to keep such a life and 
death in .one's mind ? There is no fitness in 
such things. It is not even a mark of respect. 
There was nothing to respect." 

" But people would have thought me out 
of my mind if I had not done it. I was 
obliged to do it without hesitation, and you 
know I was." 

" I suppose I do," he said, with a smile, 
at last relinquishing her hands. " But it is 
abominable to be tied down to such conven- 
tionalities ; of course there is no reason 
in it. 

" Did you say all this to Ann Chapman, 
when she put on crape for her drunken hus- 



" WE KEN HO W THE TARN LIPS." 3* 



band ? ' Molly asked, moved irresistibly to 
mischief, but walking on with demure eyes 
cast down. 

" Of course I did not." 

" Then why didn't you ? It was very 
conventional of her, you know ; they had 
often come to blows together." 

" I find you are not so serious as you were 
looking," he said. " Men were unreasonable 
ever, I suppose, and it is perfectly true that I 
have never rebelled against the custom in 
any one else. But black does not suit you ; 
it adds to your paleness, and moreover gives 
one a feeling that you are for the time, cut off 
from companionship. Then I had just been 
reading of a very gay wedding, and the con- 
trast was the more pronounced. I have been 
sitting an hour on the bridge, waiting for you, 
and this morning I had a paper sent. Miss 
Ouin is married." 

" I scarcely remember her. Who sent 
you the paper ? " 



.32 JULIET. 

" A most natural question,"' said Brunskill. 
" Why should I be interested to that extent 
in Miss Ouin's wedding that any one should 
trouble to send me a paper ? I commend the 
reason in your inquisitiveness ; you are much 
more logical than I am. Well, Doctor 
Thorns sent me the paper ; you remember 
him, the lame clergyman with the Gliddons a 
month or two ago ? I have a note from him 
too. He has sent me it on a strange prin- 
ciple—that of 'And things are not what they 
seem.' At least so he says." 

" The hollowness in i^aietv, does he 
mean ?' said Molly. " Is he a cynic? 1 
thought him very bright, and that he had the 
power of brightening others. I am sure he 
did you good." 

" Yes, he did me good, rooted out some of 
my most pig-headed notions. He is no cynic, 
and has enjoyed the wedding immensely. 
It was a brilliant affair. Don't you wonder 
what the bride worj ? ' 



" WE KEN HO IV THE TARN ZIPS." 33 



"Something too resplendent for me to 
imagine. She would not go out in an ordinary 
gown as I would." 

" You would not, if the man of your choice 
wished for something more distinctive of a 
joyful event. I, for instance, should like my 
bride to come to me adorned as she never had 
been before or might be again. It should 
not be cream or ivory, or any such miserable 
subterfuge, but pure white. Don't you think 
you could fall in with such a fad, Molly ?' 

Brunskill's voice was low and significant, 
and his eyes were fixed on her down-bent 
head. Molly was nervously spinning a pebble 
in front of her as she walked, tipping it on 
and then catching it up again, not daring to 
look up or, for a moment, to speak. A sud- 
den flood of emotion had rushed to her heart, 
and her lips trembled. 

" The woman who loved you would not 
think it a fad," she said at last, scarcely above 
a whisper. 

VOL. III. ^ 3 



34 JULIET. 

Involuntarily Brunskill drew closer i 
her. 

" The woman who loved me? he repeated. 
" That suggests a delicious possibility. I 
might have many fads, and would she think 
them all worthy attention, at least ? ' 

" There is such a glamour, you know,"' 
she said, still with effort. 

" I don't know ; but perhaps some day 
some one will teach me." 

" Don't pretend you could not give as 
well as take," she exclaimed with an involun- 
tary sigh of relief, as she realized that no im- 
mediate pressure of responsiveness was to be 
laid on her. 

11 I could — give," Brunskill said slowly, 
but folded his arms in determined control 
of either alternative. At that moment, how- 
ever, he was feeling in every pulse and fibre 
that in this, as In other mortal matters, it was 
richer to give than to receive. She had spoken 
of a glamour ; was it that, that made him 



"WE KEN HOW THE TARN LIPS." 35 



suddenly look up and around, from the earth 
to the sky, with the bewilderment born of 
intense realization of all such little words 
contain, their pregnant implication ? He did 
not know. She held the key to his know- 
ledge ; and she was thinking that when she 
gave, it should be a gift worthy of the man. 
Both knew they had been very near to 
mutual trust. ^ 




CHAPTER II. 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 

Isabel's wedding had struck others, besides 
Brunskill, as a very brilliant affair. It was 
natural enough that he, reading the detailed 
accounts eiven in the local and London 
papers, with an unsophisticated mind open 
to its dazzle of dress, presents, and guests, 
should be thrown into deep reflection on the 
ways and means of a class, from which he 
had voluntarily excluded himself; but thut 
that class itself, should have a distinct im- 
pression that it had been assisting at an 
unusually striking ceremony, was a wholly 
different matter. It had been unique, in one 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 37 



way, at least, having taken place from the 
bridegroom's house. There had been many 
serious and warm discussions, by every other 
member of the two families with Mrs. Ouin, 
before she could be brought to consent to 
this. Her soul adored the conventionalities 
of life, to which Quin was indifferent, and 
Isabel openly contemptuous. One thing was 
plain, they could not be married in London 
when London was out of town, and since 
they had been ridiculously bent on suiting 
their own convenience and pleasure by Mom- 
pesson getting his usual turn at the grouse in 
August, and insisting: that no intermediate 
visit to some dull country-house should 
interfere with their wish to go straight to 
their yacht at Marseilles, and thus make the 
most of September among the islands of the 
Levant, it naturally followed that London 
was hopelessly out of town, and more likely 
to accept invitations to another person's 
house, than to linger in its own, to the banish- 



JULIET. 

ment of charwomen and holland. So London 
was at once condemned as out of the ques- 
tion, and the artistic house in Kensington w 
shut up simultaneously with others in May- 
fair and Beloravia. Thus far, Mrs. Ouin felt 
that they did not err, they were scrupu- 
lously doing as their neighbours did, and pro- 
voking no remark. But where, then, must the 
wedding be ? They had no country hou 
Coombe had always been their refuge ah 
the fatigues of the season, unless they went 
to Brighton, or abroad. It seemed to her to 
follow naturally that it must be at Brighton, 
where many of their friends were, and they 
could take a handsome house instead of, as 
usual, going to an hotel. It was Isabel 
who broached the audacious suggestion 
that it should not be at Brighton, but at 
Coombe. 

She broached it so ingeniously, that Mrs. 
Ouin, at the moment, thought it spontaneous, 
a mere passing thought to be laughed at. 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 39 



But she speedily found herself deceived. 
Mompesson and Bel had arranged every- 
thing to this end months previously, and for 
the last few weeks, Mrs. Mompesson and 
Ouin, at least, had also been in the secret. 
It seemed to all of them a delightful idea. 
Ouin and Isabel were to ofo to the Moors 
with Mompesson, and then they would return 
and settle down quietly until the auspicious 
day arrived, when they would simply meet in 



church instead of at the breakfast table. 
Every one, immediately concerned, would be 
on the spot ; outsiders, to be gathered up 
from all points of the United Kingdom and 
the Continent, might as well assemble in a 
tine and luxurious country house, whose 
resources were ample, and fully realized alike 
by entertainers and entertained, as in a hired 
house in Brighton, or elsewhere. The church 
was barely a mile away, across a park, whose 
knolls were crowned and glades filled with 
trees, whose autumnal crimson and gold 



4 o JULIET. 

shone resplendent against " Heaven's blue. ' 
adding glory to the general effect. Of course, 
the clay would be fine, and floods of sunshine 
bathe the whole landscape ; Coombe was a 
noble place, its white stone would gleam in 
the sun ; the gardens were in their height of 
voluptuous beauty, and glowing in the masses 
of hectic colour which immediately precede 
decay; the school-children would muster with 
flowers in the churchward, the village should 
fly bunting, the church should be decorated, 
there would be dinners to the tenantry, a 
magnificent lunch, a ball at night — and all 
this on their own manorial kinds. Bel 
warmed to the subject, as she talked. They 
had been out driving in the Row, and now 
she had her mother quietly ensconced in her 
own room with tea, and without tear o! inter- 
ruption. They were due at three balls that 
night, it was imperatively necessary that 
Mrs. Ouin should rest, and Bel had deter- 
mined to seize the opportunity, and have the 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 41 



matter settled in her own way. She meant 
to tell Mompesson when they were dancing 
together, that the mutual point was carried. 
It did not matter to her, in the slightest 
decree, that Mrs. Ouin was at first very 
much amused — as much amused as she 
ever was over anything ; she maintained her 
ground, and quickly proved her own serious- 
ness — thus securing argument, and to her 
argument meant victory. Mrs. Quin, how- 
ever, was more than usually difficult to con- 
vince. Everything was at stake, the idea 
was preposterous, it would create remark, it 
was not proper, not delicate, not modest ; it 
looked as though she, herself — Mrs. Ouin — 
had no house, no means, no position ; as 
though they were beggars, out of society, 
ignorant, and low-bred. Such a thine could 
not, should not be ! Was Isabel out of her 
senses ? Was it one of her father's Quixotic 
propositions, mooted on purpose to exasperate 
her ? Was Mompesson too lazy to leave his 



42 JULIET. 

own home to be married ? Whose suggestion 

had it been ? 

Isabel frankly confessed that it was hers, 
and moreover that she was very proud of it. 
She had wanted a quiet wedding ; there were 
circumstances which seemed to her in their 
exceptional character to make unobtrusive- 
ness most consistent ; but her cousin would 
not hear of it, he wished her to look her 
best, to be on that day her loveliest self — a 
spectacle for the county to admire to a man, 
and not only to a man, but, what was much 
more difficult to achieve, to a woman. The 
question thereupon naturally arose, " How 
could she be admired by the county, when it 
would not be there to see her ? ' And Mom- 
pesson had declared that must be managed 
somehow, and she had laughed, and said it 
could only be managed at Coombe. What 
ensued upon the proposition she did not 
say, but that it had met with instant appro- 
bation was obvious from the fact that he 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 43 

named it to Quin the same day, and the band 
of conspirators carried the motion without 
reference to the higher powers. In the 
end, the higher powers, too, were made to 
yield, if only by force of numbers, and Isabel 
set about her preparations with a more irre- 
pressible lightheartedness, from the piquancy 
given to the whole affair by departure from 
established rule. 

There was not in those days a happier 
woman in England than Isabel Ouin. She 
had attained her heart's desire without any 
sacrifice of principle or sensitiveness, and the 
result was, she knew, not only good for her- 
self, but for the man she loved. Humanly 
speaking, nothing better could have befallen 
him, than this fact of his eyes being opened 
to recognize her love and his need of it. It 
had already exorcised his haunting fear of 
misfortune in the future, not by dismissing 
all possibility of such overtaking him, but by 
teaching him that it must be met unflinch- 



44 JULIET. 

ingly as a measure of justice tardily extended 
to others, and not necessarily affecting him- 
self beyond possession of what he had always 
known he held insecurely on tacit trust. 
Isabel's courage and practical reasoning had 
robbed the doubtfulness of his position of its 
bitterness. She did not, like Mrs. Ouin, at 
once sink all doubt from the time of her 
formal en^a^ement ; on the contrary, she 
grappled it the more closely, forcing it upon 
his daily consideration, as a matter which 
need not affect their happiness or comfort, 
and discussing plans for the disposal of them- 
selves should the worst come to the worst. 
In her own mind only existed certainty that 
the worst would come, but at the same time 
she could not acknowledge to herself that 
the contingency was alarming or depressing. 
She wondered that she did not. when she 
thought oi the many years' associations that 
clung to the very name, of Coombe, her love 
for the place, and the many hopes bound up 



HOPES FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 45 



for years in its master. Every corner in the 
house, every nook in the gardens and glade 
in the park, was sacred to a memory that had 
ardently attached itself to one and another 
from impressionable childhood. Yet she 
could cheerfully think of relinquishing all 
and withdrawing into the comparative retire- 
ment of a secondary position in the social 
scale. To every one but Mompesson, it 
seemed in those days that she must have 
forgotten the uncertainty that overshadowed 
him. and to which she was linking her own 
life. Quin saw her happiness, that held no 
hesitation, no intermittence, and apparently 
no thought for the morrow, and wondered 
with increasing speculation if a blow so great 
could fall upon a nature so simply trustful ; 
but he had no doubt how she would meet 
the emergency should it arise ; he knew the 
strength of will and principle that underlay 
her daily concessions to the demands of a 
frivolous and heedless world. Mrs. Ouin no 



46 JULIET. 

longer admitted fear into her mind. She had 
turned her back upon it, calmly opposing to 
it the grand curves of her aesthetically-draped 
figure, the coils of her red-^old hair, and 
the whole concentrated force of a will that 
declared such a possibility to be impossible, 
beyond human realization. And she cre- 
dited her daughter with a similar intensity 
of dismissal for an obnoxious subject. It 
was not likely that she should dwell upon 
it, still less admit it into her thoughts as a 
possibility. Had she done so, she could not 
have consented to marry him, still less have 
dismissed with such gentle firmness advances 
from other quarters, waiving them with a 
decision against which it was invariably felt 
there was no appeal. 

This last season had been a very brilliant 
one for Isabel. It was only towards its end 
that her engagement had been made known ; 
it had been universally admitted in family 
conclave that family reasons advised secresy 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 4 7 

until the time came for final arrangements • 
and she was the sort of girl to be illuminated 
by happiness. People saw the illumination, 
wondered, speculated, and admired. It was 
her third season, but she attained success 
without attempting it, and found herself a 
centre of attraction. Mompesson, purposely 
holding aloof, saw the sensation she created, 
and gloried in it. When he had told Quin a 
year ago that he should not care a fig for a 
woman whom no one admired but himself, he 
had spoken the plain truth. He would not 
have spoken the truth so plainly now, when 
he was fully under her delicate influence ; 
but, nevertheless, the fact remained, and his 
love burnt the more ardently for the uni- 
versal admiration that he now saw bestowed 
on her. Isabel herself was amused rather 
than gratified by that admiration. Her char- 
acter leant instinctively to the domestic 
phase of life ; she loved, and her love was 
returned, and would gradually pervade every 



4 3 JULIET. 

fibre of her bein^ and aim of her actions. 
For her that was sufficient, all -satisfying. 
She traced her popularity to Ouin's portrait 
of her, which held a conspicuous position on 
the walls of Burlington House that year, and 
which she declared, and honestly believed, 
was flattered audaciously. There was no 
doubt about its being a charming picture, a 
striking inspiration of a great artist accus- 
tomed to inspirations, and all the more fasci- 
nating to those who could compare it with 
the original, from the fact that, though mar- 
vellously true to nature, the expression w; 
one which none oi them had ever seen on 
her face. He had called it " Dear Lady I )is- 
dain," and she was looking back over her 
shoulder with an attempt at haughtiness that 
merged, apparently against her will, into 
sweet yet defiant archness. The sparkle o( 
temper seemed to the uninitiated ones to litt 
the corner of a curtain behind which they 
would fain penetrate, for the world is not yet 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 49 

1 _ - .- _ 

so given over to languishment that it does 
not love a symptom of diablerie in the softer 
sex. It was undoubtedly the most successful 
portrait of the exhibition, and the original 
bore comparison with it at this time of illumi- 
nation, when her look was radiant, her air 
vivacious, her step buoyant beyond all pre- 
cedent. She went through the fatigues of 
the season without flagging, and only a few 
intimate friends knew the secret of her good 
looks. It was generally noticed that Mom- 
pesson was a great deal with her, but then 
they were cousins, and the risk attending his 
marriage would be insuperable to Mr. and 
Mrs. Quin — at least, in the opinion of these 
wiseacres, who further prophesied that so 
lovely a girl would not be satisfied with less 
than a title. 

It was also noticed that Mompesson was 
not so constantly in attendance upon the tall 
dark girl to whom his devotion had been 

yielded to the point of infatuation the pre- 
vol. in. 4 



5o JULIET, 

. . , , 

vious year. But that was not to be wondered 
at either, she was only a governess ; and young 
men must sow their wild oats, and come to 
their senses at last ; and governesses find 
their own level in the social scale, and come 
to their senses too. Of course, Mompesson 
would marry Lai Tatton, thus uniting two 
adjoining estates, if nothing untoward oc- 
curred, or, if it did, securing the dignity of 
only having to move next door, as it were. 

And for Miss Ouin ? Well, there was 
plenty of choice, and the wise world was 
universally agreed that it would fall upon 
Lord Ferrars, who was known to be crazy at 
this time on the subject of golden hair and 
the sweetest blue eyes ever seen. 

And at this time also the wise world, in- 
cluding poor Lord Ferrars, who had never 
yet had courage to put his fortune to the 
test, but lived on groundless hopes, was 
electrified by the news that Mompesson of 
Coombe was the winner of the prize, and 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 51 

that they were most unfashionably and obso- 
letely in love with each other. 

From the midst of the sensation this 
announcement caused, and to which the pre- 
vious one could not be compared, Isabel 
escaped to Coombe, to be followed by a 
milder, because written, buzz of congratula- 
tion and exclamation points ; and from 
thence again in a few weeks to the High- 
lands, where Quin and Mompesson and she 
entertained a circle of choice spirits and en- 
joyed themselves the whole livelong day. 
It did not by any means follow with Mom- 
pesson that because he went to the Moors 
he must shoot the moor birds ; he was quite 
content to do everything in his power for his 
friends' enjoyment, providing they would 
leave him the liberty of taking his in his own 
way. Quin was an inveterate sportsman, 
and had onlv let his shooting in Wherndale 
when Mompesson reached an age to offer 
him the superior attraction of Highland 



LIBRARY 

uwvFRsmr of iuinois 



52 JULIET. 

shooting, where he had full scope not only 
for walking twenty miles a day and " larding 
the lean earth ' to his own eventual advan- 
tage, but for storing in his mind for future 
use with his brushes the wonderful glories 
of autumnal colouring on mountain and 
moor, glen and loch, and wood-girdled lake. 
Mompesson had never much cared for these 
accessories ; the picturesque irregularities in 
their day's tramp simply suggested to him 
more toil, weariness, and pulls at his flask ; 
but now he found out their genuine use, 
since they afforded every excuse for wander- 
ings with Isabel from one point to another, 
to catch various views under various effects 
of dewy morning, high noon, or glowing sun- 
set. They could not have strolled about in 
this way in a level town, therefore he at last 
appreciated the lonely moors, secured by 
their altitude from the insidious march of 
houses and streets ; and learnt to regard them 
from a point of view more fascinating than 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 53 



the artists', for it shone in ''the light that 
never was on land or sea." 

Thus the time drew on for the wedding ; 
and when they returned to Coombe, it was 
to find peace flown before an advanced state 
of preparation for the great day. The two 
families were now once more under one roof, 
and Juliet was in the midst of them, and 
feeling like a traitor to their cause, the 
amount of her knowledge standing out 
sharply against their unsuspicious ignorance. 
She lived at this time certain that, after all, 
something momentous would occur to stop 
or postpone the wedding. A feverish sus- 
pense increased on her as she realized each 
hour more clearly the vital importance of the 
facts she so fully knew, and was bound in 
honour to guard so zealously from the know- 
ledge of those whom thev would most keenlv 
interest. At last she wrote to Brunskill, 
urging him to reconsider his decision, and 
suffer others to act in plain daylight. But 



5 \ JULIET. 

Brunskill was firm. In her anger she called 
him obstinate, senseless, ridiculous ; but she 
knew in her heart that his reasons must be 
good. It was, however, a terribly sore point 
with her. So long as he held out against 
the advancement of his claims, it was certain 
that he was not engaged to Molly ; and only 
by his engagement to Molly could she find 
perfect satisfaction in her own engagement 
to Ormrod. With that, she considered that 
vital danger for the future and remorse for 
the past would be precluded. She felt, 
justly, that Ormrod would marry no one but 
herself, so lon^ as she was unmarried ; his 
love, though poor, was hers, and an engaged 
man could not do the harm that an unen- 
eaeed man might do. It was her intention 
to be near him when possible, and to marry 
him so soon as circumstances would permit. 

After her letter to Brunskill, she wrote 
to Doctor Thorns, to try to induce him to 
influence him. Of this letter the Doctor 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFLLLED. 55 

took no notice, except by going over to 
Moorhead and seeing Brunskill personally. 
In the main object of his journey he was 
unsuccessful, and therefore, by not replying 
to Juliet, left her in doubt whether he had 
received her letter. He was at this time in 
most relentless mood, and all the more so 
because he was bound to help in the marry- 
ing of Mompesson and Isabel, and keenly 
conscious that, in all that brilliant assem- 
blage, he should care only to catch the voice 
and meet the eyes of one infatuated and 
most disappointing woman, who was rushing 
headlong to her ruin. He thought that, 
in leaving the Rectory, and rallying to his 
aid, silence, absence, and distance, he had 
played his last card, and that the result had 
proved him foiled. 

Meanwhile the day drew near, and no- 
thing happened. Then the house filled with 
company, there was a ceremonious dinner- 
party the night before, the wedding, and 



5 



6 JULIET. 



the final arrangements were concluded. 
After dinner, the drawing-room windows 
were thrown open into a temporary pavilion 
erected on the terrace, and which was banked 
with plants, and lit up with Chinese lanterns. 
There, was, however, a beautiful harvest 
moon that rose presently above the woods, 
and paled all fictitious light ; and in its still 
splendour the gardens and park looked so 
alluring, that by degrees the terrace was 
deserted, and every one wandered off among 
the trees. Juliet had been playing, but find- 
ing herself unappreciated by the dowagers 
among the cushions of the chairs and sofas, 
left the piano and stepped out too, taking 
her way to a favourite glade in the park, 
where she thought she should be alone. She 
was in the mood to be alone since Ormrod's 
company was denied her, and she wanted to 
think and <^et rid of the glare and dazzle of 
candles and brilliant toilets and jewels. 

The glade was very still. As she turned 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 5 7 



the knoll where the ground dipped, there 
was not a sound to be heard. She stood a 
moment looking round before plunging into 
the gloom, for the trees were thick, and 
the light could not penetrate them. Near 
her, however, the trunks were sharply out- 
lined, and threw massive shadows across the 
path. A few crisp leaves had already fallen, 
and, when she stepped off the turf, their 
crunching under her feet startled her into 
thinking others besides herself must be 
w r alking there. Again she stood still— and 
the silence remained unbroken. So she 
walked slowly on, but the place was more 
ghostly than she had expected, and her 
courage flagged. When she got to the end, 
where the trees gave way to a lonely pool, 
she felt that it needed some resolution to 
turn and face the gloom again. The pool 
was lying like a silver disk, mirroring in its 
midst the moon hanging above it ; and she 
watched for some moments the slow move- 



58 JULIET. 

ment of the mirrored moon until it slipped 
under the reedy banks. It was as she turned 
at last that she caught a distant sound of 
footsteps in the glade. She was not fright- 
ened ; the park was private, and it could 
only be some one belonging to the Hall ; 
but she wondered who it was, as it was cer- 
tainly some one alone, like herself. Another 
moment, and a man emerged into the full 
moonlight, and stood looking at her ; but 
they were some distance apart, and she did 
not recognize him. 

" Who is it?" she said. 

" Oh, it is you ! I thought I could not 
be mistaken ; and you are moonstruck. I 
am also, so we are for once hail fellows well 
met.' 

The voice was Doctor Thorns', but she 
did not come to him with outstretched hands 
as she once would have done ; on the con- 
trary. she shrank into herself, and as far from 
him as possible, leaving all advances to his 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 59 



judgment. He did not hesitate to make 
them, but came up rapidly until he was close 
to her. 

" I am not exactly welcome here, am I ?' 
he said. 

44 I did not know you were at the Rec- 
torv. 

4 

" And did not care." 

" Why did you not dine with us ? ' 

14 Because I did not mean to see you until 
you were in church with the other drones 
and butterflies to-morrow. But Fate has 
willed otherwise, my evil star has long been 
in the ascendant. I only came here because 
it was a favourite spot of yours." 

''And where have you been all these 
months ? ' 

44 From crocus-time to aster-time — yes, 
months ! Here, there, and everywhere. 
Ask rather where I have not been. From 
glorious old Egypt to the Pillars of Her- 
cules, from Etna to the Naze ; and every- 



6o JULIET. 

thing I have seen has been through a phan- 
tom more fascinating than Cyoeraetk, though 
strangely like her. Now I find the phan- 
tom in real flesh and blood again, and look- 
ing very ' 



He put his hand on her arm, and had 
turned her to the light before she knew what 
he was doing. 

"What? " she said. 

-Sad." 

The colour rushed to her face. 

" I am not sad ; I am happy." 

" Ah ! then you know who the phantom 
was. Yes, you look sad, but it becomes you 
at present. Well, so I am to congratulate 
you, but then one does not always do what 
one ought to do. Thus, I shall not con- 
gratulate you, but I'll congratulate him. 
Are you expecting him here to-night ? Is 
this a tryst ? ' 

" No, I am not expecting Mr. Ormrod." 

4< Ah ! how well love understands ambi- 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 61 



guity and pronouns, and meets them, too, so 
naively. So it is only a tryst with the moon ; 
very nice, and very effective. Do you know 
I thought you were a ghost when I was in 
the darkness, and saw you ahead of me in 
this gleaming white dress. You might be 
the bride, and going to act Ginevra in this 
pool. You are sure you were not going to 
hide that sad face under the water — good 
God, surely you were not ? 

" If it is sad, it is a lie," she said, steadily. 
" Or perhaps the light. You shall see to- 
morrow how little reason you have for talk- 
ing in this way." 

" Perhaps it is not the light, but the shade 
from my face, or the autumn chill in the air ; 
chill will tell. Don't stand any longer, but 
come home, and let me take your arm ; don't 
be afraid of me, Juliet — not now. It is 
nothing to take your arm, I have done it 
many a time. I only want to feel your 
presence." 



62 JULIET. 

His voice had changed from sharp dog- 
matism to supplication, for she hesitated, 
and he saw her hesitation, and it stung 
him. 

11 There is a shorter cut that way." she 
said, indicating with a gesture the other side 
of the pool. " I should be home in a feu- 
moments, and would change my shoes. I 
think " 

". Our thoughts do not tally then," he 
broke in, " and the weaker will must yield. 
The glade is dark, mysterious, secret, it will 
tell nothing. You are afraid, if you won't 
come." 

" I am not afraid," she said, and gathered 
up her gleaming dress over her arm and 
went down the bank with him. 

" We shall not hurry," he said ; " I must 
come to Your other side. I don't want all 
that white silk, I want your arm.*' 

She stood still while he suited the action 
to the word. Her gloves were oft" her 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 63 



sleeves cut to the elbow, and she only wore 
a fleecy shawl as a wrap. In a moment she 
felt the cold pressure of his palm on her 
flesh — such a thing had happened times with- 
out number previously, but this was the first 
time she thought of and almost resented it. 
They were lost in the gloom again imme- 
diately, there was no one to see them, but 
she knew she was walking as she had never 
walked in her life before, erect and proud 
and disdainful, for she was on the verge 
of tears, and her eyes burnt, her breast 
heaved, the lump in her throat well-nigh 
choked her. 

" Now, tell me all about it," he said. 

There was no answer. She could not 
trust her voice. 

" 1 ask as a friend, Juliet. I don't wish 
to be a Mentor anv longer." 

" But what do you ask ? " 

" Many things. Do you love him ?' 

" Yes." 



64 JULIET. 

u You think me a fool, don't you ? Do 
you honour him ? " 

There was a pause. She was innately 
true, and not even in defiance could she utter 
a falsehood. 

" I have not thought of that," she said, 
and she shivered, expecting a sardonic laugh. 

But he did not laugh. He was far 
past it. 

" Do you trust him ? ' he asked. 

The pause was longer this time. He 
felt her arm twitch involuntarily ; and he 
waited. 

" No," she said, at last, without flinching 
or trembling, or lowering her voice or walk- 
ing faster. It was an ice-bound monosvllable, 
and it made his heart leap with anguish and 
compassion and appeal that it might even 
yet be given him to find the right way of 
convincing and saving her. 

" Now," he said, " let us reverse the 
order of succession on my behalf. No, don't 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 65 



pull your arm away," as she made an attempt 
to do so, " treat it as a mere matter of form. 
Do you trust and honour me, Humphrey 
Thorns ? " 

" With all my sense," she said, laughing 
a nervous, half-strangled laugh, in her en- 
deavour to humour him, playfully, and to 
avoid the danger of seriousness at such a 
juncture. 

But he would not tolerate her levity ; he 
was in deadly earnest, and she must be the 
same. 

" Be quiet ; it is a game of hearts and 
souls, heaven or hell, the blessed or the 
damned," he said. " You may laugh at me 
in the flesh, rheumatic and hobbling, but not 
at my principles or moralities, or vocation. 
Juliet, do you love me ? " 

" Not a jot," she said, and she suddenly 
wrenched herself free, and stamped her foot 
as she turned and faced him. He could just 
distinguish the outline of her figure and the 

VOL. III. ; 



66 JULIET. 

burning- of her eyes as they dilated and fixed 
themselves on his, charged with anger and 
defiance and keenest passion. 

But she need not have defied him. It 
left him unscathed, and became puerile before 
his tranquillity. 

" I am quite satisfied," he said, calmly. 
11 It is true I love you, but my love is my 
own, and I have your trust and respect, 
which seem to me the best of what you have 
had the power of giving. You are only 
proving yourself, like many another, the fool 
of circumstance rather than its architect. 
You speak of sense, but of course sense is 
nothing by the side of inclination. You are 
to be pitied, not condemned. From my heart 
I pity you." 

" Yes, I am to be pitied," she said, unex- 
pectedly. 

" Do you court pity, then ? ' 

"No, I dread it. It unnerves me. ' 

" Then are you no longer a free agent ? ' 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 67 

" I feel as though I were this moment," 
she exclaimed, incoherently. 

"Why only this moment ? Juliet, break 
loose from it all and come away with me ; 
marry me and turn your back upon it. Be- 
lieve that my love is so great that it will 
compel you to love me sooner or later. There 
is no risk. I have patience. Juliet, you 
trust me now as you never can trust him, 
trust me a little further. You know that I 
love and honour and trust you with my whole 
heart. It is yours until death." 

For a moment she was silent. They had 
come now to the edge of the glade, and he 
could see her face, wrunor with the strucrele 
of her heart, pale and desperate. He had 
seized her hands, and was holding them 
pressed against his breast, his burning eyes 
fathomed the goaded agony of hers. Would 
she yield ? He was tempting her to a dis- 
honourable flight of cowardice and failure, 
which no present pressure could excuse. Was 



68 JULIET. 

this the way in which to win her from her 
weaker self? He knew he would never have 
been so won, and he thought that she would 
not either. 

Nor was she. 

" I cannot," she said, with a sob in her 
voice. 

" You cannot ? " 

" No, don't ask me. It is my own mis- 
fortune that I don't love you the better, don't 
make a grief of it. I have passed my word 
to be loyal to all I know of him now. I have 
forgiven much in spite of myself. I shall 
have more to overlook, but it won't be any- 
thing" vital ; and so long" as there isn't vital 
deception again before we marry, he shall 
have my allegiance. After we marry, he shall 
have it in spite of everything. But our en- 
gagement is acknowledged now, so there 
can't be more — great — harm — done, can 
there ? Dearest friend, you must go away 
again until you can bear to think of me only 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 69 



as a friend. You must try to do that. Write 
to me sometimes, will you ? " 

But he repelled compromise vehemently. 

" You don't know what you ask. You 
don't know what you are talking of," he 
urged. " Juliet, I swear you don't love this 
fellow as I love you, or you could not be so 
cold-blooded, you would know better than 
mock me. I will ask less of you ; give him 
up, but don't marry me — just give him up for 
your own sake." 

. " I love him so well that I must act for 
his sake." 

" That is a miserable subterfuge, just one 
of the moralities a deluded woman takes 
refuge in. Juliet, I tell you again, he is a 
knave. He is deceiving you yet — now. 
That Dale affair was nothing ; he flies at 
higher game than either her or you. There's 
a poor soul -" 

" Hush ! " she said ; " I will not hear 
from you. How do you know ? what do you 



/ 



o JULIET. 



know ? What have you been ferreting out, 
you, with your prejudice against him that 
robs him of all goodness and me of all happi- 
ness. What have you heard ? No, I won't 
hear. He shall tell me, or no one shall ; and 
he won't tell me, for I will never, never, let 
him see that I mistrust him, that I think 
there is anything. Go away, do ; don't you 
see how miserable I am, how w r retched vou 
make me ? O God ! I am very unhappy ! 
Don't you see how miserable I am ? Don't 
tempt me, Humphrey. I should only blame 
myself, and always, always be wanting him 
and his forgiveness. Don't let it be that way, 
Humphrey ; don't make me sin against him. 

Perhaps, if he sin against me again- " 

Her voice dropped to a whisper. She 
was standing with her hands pressed to her 
heart, as though but for that pressure it 
would burst ; and her face was upturned ; he 
saw it in the moonlight, white and agonized ; 
and he felt she could bear no more. 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFILLED. 7 1 



'• Don't tempt me, Humphrey," she said 
once more, and turned and looked at him 
with dilated eyes shining through tears. 

He seized her hands, grasping them until 
she could have screamed with pain, covering 
them with kisses, but not coming one step 
nearer than her hands. His face was as pale 
as hers, and set in a desperate resolution, 
the more terrible in contrast to the con- 
vulsive kisses that were for the moment his 
only safe mode of relief. Then, without a 
word, he dropped her hands, and, turning, 
plunged again into the darkness. She lis- 
tened to his footsteps, crunching the dead 
leaves that strewed the path, hearing them 
grow fainter and fainter. When they were 
out of hearing, she put her hand to her head 
and went and leant against a tree, moving 
uncertainly, as though she were half para- 
lyzed and numb in limb. Her heart was not 
benumbed ; it throbbed as though it must 
burst, and ached with a strange dull pain 



72 JULIET. 

which tears could not have relieved, which 
must wear itself out. She wanted Ormrod at 
that moment to comfort her. 

Presently she recovered herself suffi- 
ciently to walk on. But when she reached 
the drive, and saw the Hall before her, with 
its rows of lighted windows, and the gardens 
where figures were still strolling, she felt it 
impossible that she could again join such a 
scene of gaiety. The struggle of that hour 
had been one as of life and death, and she was 
exhausted. She drew nearer, slipping from 
tree to tree, and courting their shadows, lest 
she should be seen. Then she caught the 
sound of music ; some one was playing a 
waltz, and dancers moved across the lio'ht 
that streamed from the drawing-room on to 
the pavilion. She crept round to a side-door, 
and succeeded in reaching" her own room 
without having met any one. 

The next da)- Isabel was married, but 
Doctor Thorns did not assist, as was in- 



HOPES, FULFILLED AND UNFULFLLLED. 73 



tended. He had gone away again, and sent 
a note of excuse without explanation. His 
place at luncheon was filled by Ormrod, who 
had met Juliet in the church-porch, having 
come down from town on purpose to take his 
place near her on so important an occasion. 
She had not expected him, and the surprise, 
coming so close upon the previous night's 
grief, was almost too great for her compo- 
sure. The little attention touched her beyond 
its real worth, and made her at least look 
happy. 




CHAPTER III, 



WITH MERLIN. 



Having come to Coombe, Ormrod proved 
himself in no hurry to leave it. There were 
still a few weeks before Mrs. Mompesson 
was to vacate the Hall for paperers and 
painters, and he had his own most excellent 
reasons for wishing to be near Juliet, and 
riveting his influence over her bv everv 
means in his power. The old proverb of 
" Where there's a will there's a way," was 
once more true in his case. He was not 
asked to stay at the Hall, so had to find 
quarters elsewhere, and to cast about for 
an object less obvious than the real one 
for his zeal in doing so. It was easy for 



WITH MERLIN. 75 



a landscape painter to turn the Park at 
Coombe to eood account under such circum- 
stances. Within a few davs he had secured 
rooms at the Home Farm, and set up his 
easel on the outskirts of the glade where 
Juliet had taken her moonlight walk. He 
was going to paint the pool where it reflected 
a group of beeches that swept the bank 
above. To a great extent, that picture re- 
mained a subject for the future. He was 
wholly content to be near Juliet, with con- 
stant opportunities for intercourse with her. 
In those circumstances, he knew himself to 
be safe. She satisfied him, and he was out 
of harm's way, which was his style of ex- 
pressing himself as out of the way of doing 
others harm. There were, however, moods 
of hers which he did not understand and 
considered dangerous, moods when she was 
feverish, then scornful, imperious, or sar- 
castic by turn. He did not know how new 
these were to her, how foreign to her nature ; 



l() JULIET. 

but was content to pass them over, admiring 
their diablerie, and congratulating himself 
easily, that they did not clash with anv such 
of his. He had no objection to hers being 
the ruling will. She was made to rule, and 
her dominion might as well embrace him as 
not. He rather prided himself upon his 
compliant disposition ; it was unusual in a 
man who mi^ht reasonably be termed " a fine 

O J 

fellow." It saved trouble also, and invested 
him with a halo of amiability. 

During those weeks they met every day. 
Their en^acrement was now generally known, 
and sketching was a congenial occupation in 
which Lily occasionally joined. Lily, how- 
ever, troubled them very little, being devoted 
to her pony, and bidding good-bye to her 
favourite haunts and old people, and Juliet 
and Ormrod had their time mostly at their 
own disposal. It was glorious weather, the 
trees in the Park shone resplendent in the 
sunshine, the crimson of the beeches and 



WITH MERLIN. 7 7 



amber of the chestnuts, stood modelled 
against the crisp blue of the skies like mo- 
saics of a golden age ; wherever there was a 
gleam of water it gave back the lavishment 
of colour ; and of all the nooks about 
Coombe, there was none prettier than this 
favourite glade of Juliet's, where the trees 
separated on either hand and swept round 
the margin of the pool. The pool was set 
in a fringe of reeds ; at the lower end it 
trickled away among mossy stones and pre- 
sently slipped into an oak-spinney, to skirt 
the path leading to the Home Farm ; there 
was on the bank a thicket of gorse, " never 
bloomless," that clambered among some grey 
rocks cropping up from the turf, but never 
succeeded in covering them, and among this 
gorse now was a tangle of bramble and wild 
geranium, with its many rosy eyes looking 
meekly up to the sun. Juliet was glad that 
Ormrod had chosen this place in which to 
paint, or, rather, make a feint at painting ; it 



78 JULIET. 

gradually effaced from her mind the remem- 
brance of her meeting with Doctor Thorns, 
and it was very private, and very silent, and 
very sunny. The walk thence to the Farm 
was in every particular a lovers' walk ; silent 
too, and with the sun slanting betwixt the 
russet-tinged oaks on to the path, where 
leaves whirled along madly before even- 
eddy of breeze. They would stop now and 
again to watch a squirrel dart up a tree, or a 
wagtail hop from stone to stone In the little 
stream that murmured over the waving cress 
and gathered here and there into shining 
shallows, from whence it seemed loth to 
slip again. They walked there at all hours 
of the day, just strolling backwards and for- 
wards, careless of the easels near the pool or 
of their ostensible purpose of work ; Ormrod 
making love to her in every possible way, 
and Juliet striving hard to conquer the feel- 
ing of unrest and irritable speculation which 
was, unknown to herself, becoming her 



WITH MERLIN. 7 9 • 



normal condition. Sometimes she thought 
it was exorcised ; his unvarying affection 
could not, she felt, excuse anything but per- 
fect satisfaction, and she was lulled to con- 
tentment. Then again a chance word, a 
complacent insinuation, a confident smile, 
roused the old demons of distrust and mis- 
giving, and delivered her up once more a 
prey to misery. 

" I shall never be perfect, you know," said 
Ormrod, one day when he had been making 
ducks and drakes across the pool. They 
had been silent for some time, and the re- 
mark was apropos of nothing that had been 
said. 

" Then you will be like me," Juliet said 
quickly. 

" No ; I shall never be as near perfection 
as you. But that is not what I meant. You 
are making me humble-minded. I want you 
to understand that there are faults of mine 
that I shall never overcome." 



So JULIET. 

" Perhaps you have only just begun to 
consider them faults." 

" I believe so ; it is your earnestness — 
you are awfully earnest, you know, Juliet, 
stait-laced, some people would say ; indeed, 
I should say so, if I didn't admire you as I 
do. I don't know but what you're in the 
right. There's so much laxity and indiffer- 
ence and jeering in the world now, that if 
some people didn't make a stand, crimes 
would come to be considered mere peccadil- 
loes. And you have an influence over one, 
Juliet. My faults seem less like peccadilloes 
than they did a year ago ; but, none the less, 
the faults will be there to the end of the 
chapter." 

" I think, if you have only now thought of 
them as faults, you might be a little more 
sanguine of losing them." 

" I never shall," he said. "It isn't a 
case of pour mamuser, but they simply over- 
come me. I slip into them before I know 



WITH ME RUN. 8 



where I am. I hope, dear, you will be able 
to bear them and not be unhappy." 

" At least I shall know you don't wish me 
to be unhappy." 

" Yes ; but you are .sensitive." 
" I can get over it, if they don't make 
others unhappy," she said gently, with a wist- 
ful tone in her voice that pierced him to un- 
easiness, but brought him no nearer the plain 
speaking for which she longed. She knew 
exactly at what he was driving ; but he had 
good private reasons for wishing to impress 
the eeneral fact on her mind without de- 
scending to dangerous particularities. He 
was haunted by the knowledge that they 
should meet next in Italy ; and Evelyn Daly- 
rymple was in Italy, which was not too large 
a country for separate tracks to converge 
quickly to one centre. 

Juliet's words brought back to him a vivid 
picture of Evelyn Dalyrymple as he last saw 
her. Decidedly she was then unhappy ; he 



VOL. III. 



82 JULIET. 

should not have liked Juliet to have seen 
her. And he had had letters from her which 
could not be called happy letters, either in 
tone or intention, for they were full of vehe- 
ment reproaches, and wild speculations as to 
what kept him silent and away from her, and 
appeals to him to write, or return, or do any- 
thing compromising, such as it was his firm 
resolve to avoid doing. He had not penned 
a single line to her at any time, there was 
nothing in black and white to condemn him ; 
but he knew too well her passionate lack of 
self-control and her assurance to doubt that, 
should occasion offer, " she would rouse a 
wasps' nest about his ears," and condemn 
him by her own self-condemnation. 

No wonder that at such reflections he 
trembled, picturing Juliet's stern integrity, 
and remembering how nearly the current of 
her anger and indignation had once swept 
her beyond his reach. I [e was anxious to 
grain her consent to be married soon. His 



WITH MERLIN. 83 



prospects warranted it. He was getting on 
well, thanks to such powerful patronage as 
Mr. Quin's. " Cyoeraeth ' had commanded 
general attention, had sold well, and secured 
for him various commissions, whose fulfil- 
ment more than upheld his reputation. He 
was considered one of the most promising 
artists of the day. A fine future lay before 
him, and he calculated that his marriage with 
such a woman as Juliet, and a few subsequent 
years passed quietly in laborious study, in 
some inexpensive Florentine or Roman 
quarter, would be gain rather than loss. 
His present resources and prospects forbade 
the possibility of such a step as marriage 
crippling him. But he unexpectedly found 
that Juliet's view of the case differed from 
his own. She confessed she thought they 
would each, as yet, be better apart ; not that 
she feared poverty, but that reverses were pos- 
sible, and might hopelessly embarrass him at 
the most critical point in his career, if he 



84 JULIET. 

were hampered by a wife and household. 
Gradually, however, he overcame these ob- 
jections, which he stigmatized as prepos 
terous, with their good health, and Mr. 
Quin ready in an emergency to advance the 
needful. They began to talk of their mar- 
riage as likely to occur within another year, 
to decide upon the Italian town where they 
would settle, and the style of villa or rooms 
they coveted. Once having decided to face 
her future thus far, Juliet became each day 
more li^ht-hearted, showing herself under a 
new phase of arch frankness, which surprised 
and bewitched him. Occasionally, also, it 
piqued him. She ventured, sometimes, to be 
sarcastic, to bid him humour her, instead of 
expecting that she should constantly humour 
him ; to talk of their married life in the first 
person plural, rather than the first person 
singular. This knack of playful sarcasm had 
been fostered in her by Doctor Thorns; but 
Ormrod had the horror of a conceited man of 



WITH MERLIN. 85 

anything approaching irony ; it made him 
suspicious, watchful, often sulky. She 
laughed and teased unconcernedly in those 
happy days, always coaxing him back to 
£ood humour in the end. She used to get 
up arguments on purpose, apparently, to 
prove their disagreement. One day, she 
objected to the idea of a honeymoon. " Let 
us be unusual," she said, knowing how he 
clung to the conventional ; and when he pro- 
tested against departure from established 
rule, she acquiesced, by promising to con- 
form, and to keep her promise in mind by 
having a little statue of Mrs. Grundy in each 
of their rooms, and beneath the motto, " Do 
as your betters do, in spite of your individual 
means, mind, and morals." 

11 That, at least, will be harmlessly unique," 
she said. 

" I don't want to be unique," he said. 
" You may be master, Ju, but don't, for 
Heaven's sake, be outrageous." 



86 JULIET. 

'• My clear Noll, don't you know this blase 
world loves outrageousness, like a piquant 
sauce ? It may turn a Puritanical back, but 
it contrives to look over its shoulder. It 
loves to be startled, a sensation which is, 
I should think, more ancient than that of 
wrong-doing, for Eve must have experienced 
it when the serpent made such advances to 
her.'' 

" All a myth ! " he exclaimed, feeling safe 
with the serpent. 

" You are the most practical man I ever 
met," Juliet exclaimed, rising from her rock 
among the gorse. " You can't appreciate 
one's flights of imagination." 

l< But I can appreciate you " 

" No. You think all the time — ' I wish 
she were not so frivolous.' 

" Clever, you mean," he said; "yes, I 
declare you bewilder me sometimes. I don't 
know when you're serious ; you should adapt 
yourself to your company." 



WITH MERLIN. 87 



t% I am sorry I have been so wicked to- 
day," she said, demurely. 

Thev had reached the gate into the 
spinney, by which round-about way he was 
seeing her home in time for tea, and she put 
her hand on his arm when they were in the 
quiet woodland path where the low sun 
slanted warmly, and looked up at him, with 
her heart's love shining in her eyes. Orm- 
rod returned the pressure and the look, with 
a pang in his sense of possession — lie was not 
good enough for her. 

" I shall never be perfect, you know, ' she 
said, mimicking him. 

He stopped suddenly, took her in his 
arms and kissed her passionately, again and 
again ; then releasing her, held her at arm's 
length and crazed at her. 

" Juliet," he said, in a low voice of emo- 
tion, " I believe you could do anything with 
me, except make me as noble as yourself." 

"I am not noble, I- only try," she said,. 



88 JULIET. 

incoherently, touched to tears ; " don't wor- 
ship me," she added, with an April gleam. 

" I cannot do less ; it will be in my heart 
always," he said, and kissed her again reve- 
rently, with something like silent prayer. 

That was their last walk at Coombe. In 
a day or two Juliet went home, Ormrod 
accompanying her for a night on his way 
back to town. The Laybourne family had 
dwindled now, Sophie had married her 
curate, Carrie's time was chiefly devoted to 
nursine at St. Bartholomew's, Sam was farm- 
ing in Manitoba, and Phil was in engineering- 
works at Dundee ; the twins alone being left 
as representatives at the Rectory of the 
original eight ; but on the news of Ormrod 
being expected there with Juliet, having 
flown on the wings of Mrs. Laybourne's pen 
to the four points of the compass, three of 
the affectionately inquisitive brothers and 
sisters assembled to welcome them, or rather 
to criticise freely from the two standpoints 



WITH MERLIN. 89 



of their early acquaintance with Ormrod, and 
their constant speculation over Juliet. She 
had always been a riddle to them, baffling 
and interesting. They had held themselves 
ready to hear something astounding of her 
some day, but had never expected anything 
so astounding as this. The announcement 
of her engagement had come upon them like 
a thunderbolt. She had never previously 
named Ormrod, and no hint had reached 
Mrs. Lay bourne, even from Miss Gliddon. 
Some of them had thought her impervious 
to the advances of the opposite sex, others 
had expected her to marry brilliantly. The 
night previous to their arrival, discussion 
was very warm at the Rectory, but while the 
vounorer ones were indignant and sarcastic, 
the elders simply showed themselves para- 
lysed ; it was incredible to them that such a 
fate should have pursued their daughter in 
spite of the separation of years, and that of 
all men in the world, none should be found 



9o JULIET. 

for their clever Juliet, but this son of a car- 
penter, whose genius was now more than 
ever their bane. 

" But that is ridiculous, mamma," said 
Sophie; " I should think the name of Judy's 
admirers is legion, only she is so reserved, 
she w r on't tell one anything. When I was 
engaged, and used to talk to her of Arthur, 
in hopes she would confide in me in return, 
which was only fair, she never opened her 
lips but to say ' Yes,' and ' No,' and wish me 
happiness. As if I didn't know I should 
be happy ! She was as quiet as though she 
never even thought of such things, and 
all the time I knew about the Doctor, at 
least." 

" Don't, Sophie," Carrie said, " if you 
were right, it was very noble of Juliet ; but 
then Judy is noble, and I don't think you 
were right." 

" What doctor ? " asked Mrs. Laybourne, 
thinking hazily of the country practitioner 



WITH MERLIN. 9 1 

who performed his rounds in a little gig, and 
happening to be a widower, might have 
admired from a distance so bright a wander- 
ing star. 

" I was quite right," Sophie said, calmly. 
" Did you never know, mamma, how very 
much in love Doctor Thorns was ? ' 

11 Thorns ! ' ejaculated Lay bourne, bound- 
ing from his chair as though a bullet had 
whizzed past his ear. 

" Come, S.," said Phil, " this is about as 
conveiiable as the other. Judy's fancy must 
run on odd birds." 

" Not at all. The Doctor has good 
birth, good education, and good means on 
his side. Of course, he is older than she, 
but that is the very thing for her. She wants 
guidance, she'll never be a happy woman if 
she has to guide. Then, of course, Mr. 
Mompesson admired her." 

" Mompesson, of Coombe, and she his 
sister's governess ! 



92 JULIET. 

" And might have been his sisters sister, 
if she would.'' 

" But, Sophie, how do you know ? You 
say she never told you anything," asked 
Mrs. Laybourne. 

" I know," said Sophie, oracularly, " I 
have met people, and Arthur knows the man 
the Doctor got as curate- in-charge, and the 
village people will talk, you know ; and 
there was something, too, about a baronet, 
but I could not make out the name." 

" It seems that others too will talk, be- 
sides villagers," said Phil. " We'll meet 
Judy with all this information to-morrow, 
discharge it at her point blank, and bully her 
with her lack of taste and sense and worldli- 
ness. I should just like to say to that cad, 
' You can walk out again, sir ; my sister has 
changed her mind in time.' If Sam were 
here he would be up to something ingenious 
and clinching ; but he isn't, and I haven't his 
pluck. Father, it's a preposterous affair. To 



WITH MERLIN. 93 



think of Juliet sailing in upon us in her 
serene way, and we boiling with rage, and 
having to countenance such an affair, and be 
civil to a fellow brought up among shavings 
and glue-pots. He can't be a gentleman, 
and what less can satisfy such a girl ? ' 

" He may be a gentleman, one of Nature's, 
who are often the best," said Laybourne, 
groping for comfort, but really more hope- 
lessly bewildered than his wife, for she 
remembered that she had had a hidden fear 
of this years ago, and he had never had a 
qualm on the matter. 

When they saw him the next day they 
began to think, in spite of prejudice, that 
Laybourne's surmise might be correct. They 
came in late in the afternoon. Juliet had 
said in her letter that no one was to meet 
them, an injunction which, according to Phil's 
contemptuous rendering, meant " spooning 
along: the lanes." To a certain extent it was 
so. She had asked Ormrod if he would 



94 JULIET. 

object to leaving the train at Dudford instead 
of Marshlands ; and as he did not, she ex- 
plained shyly that she wanted to walk again 
now with him through Dudford lanes, so as 
to efface the impression of their previous 
walk there together. Of course he did not 
understand her motives, many of her wishes 
seemed to him mere whims, but he humoured 
her, and scarcely took the trouble to wonder 
over such peculiarities. Thus they arrived 
an hour later than was expected, but as their 
luggage preceded them, it was certain they 
were on the way, and that the spooning was 
of unconscionable length. Then at last the 
garden gate opened, voices were heard, one 
of the twins flew into the drawing-room to 
warn her mother, Phil and Carrie suspended 
their operations over the lawn tennis net, 
and after a simultaneous shrug and glance of 
mutual encouragement, advanced, racquets in 
hand, to greet their brother-in-law elect. At 
the same moment Laybourne, too, advanced, 



// ITH MERLIN. 95 



from a nervous ambush in the apple-tree 
walk, where he had instinctively fed his pre- 
occupation with a few choice Ribston pippins, 
and the three stood before Ormrod and 
Juliet, before they knew that any one was 
about. 

Ormrod and Juliet too were standing ; 
Juliet had drawn behind him, a little on one 
side, to show him her favourite view of the 
old red Rectory, glowing in the sun between 
the orchard on one hand and a magnificent 
large-leaved lime on the other, that was now 
diorht in Autumn gold. She had one hand 
on his arm, and with the other was pointing 
to a particular dormer-window framed in 
canariensis. It had been Ted's room, but 
she did not tell him so, only specifying it as 
now being her den. She imagined Ormrod 
was looking where she pointed, but he was 
not ; he was looking down at her, mischiev- 
ously and tenderly, and she raised her eyes 
suddenly and caught the" deception, but could 



96 JULIET. 

not be angry under such a look. It brought 
a wave of colour to her face, and made her 
eyes sparkle and drew a smile to her lips — 
and at that opportune moment they both 
became conscious of lookers-on, realizing 
with a gasp that it was as well it happened 
at that moment and not the next. As it 
was, the incident sent her on, with the hap- 
piest agitation about her that it was possible 
lor a woman to wear, and made them realize 
instantaneously that she was very much in 
earnest in her preference. Of the five, Orm- 
rod was the only one in possession of his 
senses. He bowed, came forward, and held 
out his hand to Laybourne. 

"We do not meet as strangers," he said, 
and they could not but feel that his bearing 
was well-bred, his smile most winning. 

Laybourne rose at once to the occasion, 
responding with the courtesy which, when 
exerted pointedly, was always the more 
attractive in comparison with his habitual 



WITH MERLIN. 9 7 



easy-going hilarious boyishness, and they 
went on together towards the house, leaving 
Juliet to the tender mercies of Phil and 
Carrie. 

Carrie immediately threw herself on 
her sister, kissing her emotionally, and say- 
ing something Juliet did not catch, She 
gently disentangled herself, but would have 
taken no notice of the incoherent little speech, 
had not Phil said bluntly : 
" Hush, Car, don't ! " 

"What was it?" she asked then; and 
startled by the shamed look in one pair of 
eyes, and the angry reproach in the other, 
repeated her question authoritatively. 

"Why shouldn't I, Phil; it was true," 
said Carrie, defiantly. " I only said he was 
very presentable, Judy ; and he is, clear." 

For a moment Juliet did not realize who 
was meant ; when she did, she burst out 
lauo-hino", and laughed until she almost cried. 
This view of the case had- never struck her. 

VOL. III. 7 



98 JULIET. 

She had, indeed, been so thoroughly ab- 
sorbed in the mere facts of loving and being 
loved that she had not given a thought to 
home consternation and speculation, and had 
forgotten that they associated Ormrod with a 
carpenter's shop in a moorland village, and 
knew nothing of him in the wide and critical 
arenas of London drawing-rooms and art 
coteries, as somewhat of a pet in Society and 
a prophesied R.A. When she had finished 
laughing, she kissed Carrie and put her arm 
through Phil's. 

11 This is delicious ! " she said. " My dear 
child, you don't mean to say you go and 
nurse at St. Bartholomew's, or have ever left 
your mother's apron-strings ? Did you ex- 
pect him to wear a paper-cap, and have his 
apron twisted round his waist, and his 
pockets full of sawdust ? My dear Car, you 
don't do credit to your advantages ; you 
might never have been away from Moorhead 
yourself. And what did you expect, Phil — 



WITH MERLIN. 99 



a rustic boor ? Did you think we were a 
Phyllis and Corydon ? Presentable ! Don't 
you know what he painted for the Academy, 
and how it was noticed and brought him into 
notice ? Don't you know that he painted 
Cyoeraeth ? " 

"I must plead ignorance," Phil said, dryly. 
" Pictures aren't in my way, though I might 
have given some thought to one if I'd known 
any particular reason why I should. But I 
did not, and consequently my ignorance is 
glaring. It isn't fair to descend on us in this 
way, Judy, and expect us to be au fait in 
matters beyond our province. When Car 
goes to town she goes to nurse, and not to 
gad about ; and as for me, I'm a practical 
engineer, and so far haven't made a fool of 
myself in any way." 

11 I'm very glad to hear it. Neither have 
I," Juliet said, gravely. It struck her that 
there was an insinuation in the latter part of 
this speech, and that she was treading un- 



ioo JULIET. 

warily on the edge of a volcano ; and this 
made her thoughtful and inwardly angry. 
They had crossed the lawn now, aird were 
close upon the group at the front door, and 
from its midst Mrs. Lavbourne came forward, 
her sweet serene eyes misty with sudden 
tears as they fell on Juliet, her eldest girl, 
her best beloved and most faithfully prayed 
for child, who was coming home to her now 
under circumstances which, above all others, 
make a mother's heart vibrate most wistfully. 
She folded her arms round her almost pas- 
sionately, and then they went indoors and 
upstairs together, without the exchange of an 
audible word. 

"Tell me all about it; I have been so 
taken by surprise," she said, when they were 
in the room, through whose open window, 
with the delicate flower gfems fluttering about 
it, they could hear voices and laughter in the 
garden below. 

And Juliet did tell her a great deal more 



WITH MERLIN. 101 



than she had intended or thought to tell ; but 
home, with its natural influences, and sym- 
pathies, and spontaneous interest, had never 
seemed to her so soothing and yet exacting 
of confidence, as now, when the infinite possi- 
bilities roused by the thought of a home of 
her own, were entering her mind day by day. 
The events of her life had transpired away 
from her home, and thus it was, perhaps, 
natural that she should have been chary of 
associating this — the greatest — directly with 
it and its people. Afterwards Mrs. Lay- 
bourne held her with her hands on her 
shoulders at arms' length. 

" And you are very happy ? ' she asked. 

"' I am very happy. No one else suited 
me so well ; and no one is perfect, Mother." 

" No," and she kissed her, without Juliet 
seeing the slightly troubled look that stole 
into her eyes. Mother-love felt that either 
great love was not here or some great fault 
was, when such an admission could act as 



102 JULIET. 

reminder against the unalloyed joy that hides 
faults and heightens virtues at such a crisis, 
as though through a golden mist. 

Nothing, however, that transpired during 
that short visit, gave countenance to either 
misgiving. When Ormrod asked, the follow- 
ing day, how long it would take him to reach 
the station, he was urged on all sides to pro- 
long his visit, Laybourne making the happy 
suggestion that by so doing, he and Juliet 
misdit travel together when she started in a 
few days to join the Mompesson party at 
Folkestone. Of course, such a suggestion 
was not to be set aside lightly. Ormrod 
glanced across the dinner-table at Juliet, and 
read persuasion in the eager look that was 
bent upon him ; and the invitation was known 
by all to be accepted, before a word was said. 
Ormrod certainly found Marshlands rather 
dull, even with Juliet at his every beck and 
call. Laybourne prosed him with reminis- 
cences of Moorhead, and once made an un- 



WITH ME RUN. 1 03 

fortunate allusion to Molly, which sent the 
sensitive blood flying distressfully to Juliet's 
face, and made him carefully avert his eyes 
from the dry observation of Phil, whose ob- 
servation he found more trying than that of 
all the others put together. 

It was then that they heard incidentally 
of Murdock's death, and Molly's proposed re- 
moval to the Vicarage ; news which Ormrod 
received with the remark that Molly was 
born to be lucky, to which Juliet silently ac- 
quiesced with more security than it had been 
asserted, thanks to her knowledge of Brun- 
skill's claims and intentions. To the others, 
it did not seem that before this, she had had 
any stroke of good luck. 

Mrs. Laybourne was charming to Orm- 
rod, as she was unvaryingly to all, though to 
her watchful solicitude it sometimes seemed 
that he was shallow, and a superficial thinker 
— she could not draw him into conversation 
or win any confidence from him. Indeed, he 



io 4 JULIET. 

evidently shrank from the familiar friendship 
they had determined to extend to him, and 
got on well with Carrie only. He was re- 
lieved when Phil left — young men are keen 
with young men, and especially if they con- 
ceive a prejudice against them. Sophie, as 
the married sister, was self-important and 
disposed to be hoity-toity, her husband being 
a Maxwell of Maxwelton ; but Carrie was a 
nice little thing, who took matters as she 
found them. He would have enjoyed a mild 
flirtation with her, but that she was too 
simple-minded and single-hearted, and mild- 
ness in such a cause did not come naturally 
to him ; yet he durst not venture upon more, 
under the circumstances. But, on the whole, 
the days passed very happily. He found 
something to sketch in the church ; and 
Juliet played softly on the organ, and sang 
now and then in her fine voice, that flooded 
the silence and left it vibrating to the music 
of her innermost heart. In the afternoons 



WITH MERLIN. 105 

they had callers, and played lawn-tennis, and 
sat out on the grass in the shade of the great 
golden lime, drinking tea and chatting. It 
was a new life to Ormrod, an antipodes both 
to Moorhead and Coombe, that phase of 
quiet medium life which is so distinctively 
English in its cheerful uneventfulness, its re- 
finement of domestic happiness, its exclusive 
clerical element and general self-satisfaction. 

" I could not endure it long, even with 
you," he said to Juliet, one day. 

" Nor I. I always feel it is only an 
interlude ; but it is a peaceful one, of which 
one can think longingly in the outside fret 
and jar — and it is best for Home to be 
peaceful." 

When they went away, it was generally 
felt that there was a great blank in the house. 
Juliet had presented herself to them under a 
new aspect ; and Ormrod had been interest- 
ing, if only by comparison with former times. 
There was no doubt they were happy. 



106 JULIET. 

" Nevertheless, he is not the right man 
for her ; he makes her his conscience, and 
depends on her too much, and she will tire. 
It is far better the other way, like Arthur 
and me," said Sophie astutely, with a shake 
of her fair head. 



CHAPTER IV. 



" CHECK." 



Naturally, when Ormrod started with Juliet 
on her journey, he did not stop short of 
Folkestone, and only left the party when the 
bell ran £ to clear the boat. His last words 
to her were an assurance of his faithful affec- 
tion, and of his intention of following them to 
Italy, so soon as the fulfilment of one or two 
commissions allowed it. He would do all in 
his power to accomplish this, whilst they 
were still at Genoa. She stood on deck a 
lono; time, watching: the coast line dwindle 
and disappear, as the steamer ploughed its 
way swiftly through the -heaving water, that 



io8 JULIET. 

danced and sparkled in the sunshine, and 
slipped in shoals of flying silver flakes from 
the paddles. In all probability she was leav- 
ing Eneland for years. In her own mind 
existed a vague intention of marrying before 
the Mompessons returned, and inducing Orm- 
rod to settle in Florence, or Rome ; but in spite 
of this intention of lon^ absence, she had no 
feeling but of perfect cheerfulness and content- 
ment. The last month seemed to have healed 
all wounds, and given her a sense of security 
aeainst new ones. She knew that Ormrod 

o 

would be with her again as soon as possible, 
and then meant that they should not again be 
parted for longer than the chance exigencies 
of his profession and travelling, made unavoid- 
able. No presentiment of change or misfor- 
tune, threw a shadow over her, as she stood, 
her hands clasped, her eyes dilated and 
vacant with the suefgestiveness of her far- 
reaching thoughts. It seemed to her, with- 
out her thinking of it, that her way was now 



"CHECK." 109 



plain before her, and that nothing could turn 
her from it. She was resting from fret and 
jar, and devoting herself to the alluring pro- 
spects of the future. 

At Paris, they were to stay a few days. 
Mrs. Mompesson had been there once before, 
years ago, in her early married life, when her 
invalid husband wished to consult a crreat 
physician, and she had made up her mind to 
see the gay city again, under the altered con- 
ditions of fifty years later ; and when she made 
up her mind to a thing, she invariably accom- 
plished it. Juliet was already thankful that 
thev were not travelling w T ith the Ouins, for 
Mrs Ouin, too, was in the habit of making 
up her mind to a thing ; and as her will 
generally clashed with Mrs. Mompesson's, 
the effect was that of two do^s in one leash 
puling different ways. In all probability 
Mrs. Quin would have declined to stop at 
Paris, having frankly given her opinion, that 
if her mother would be so~ absurd as to travel 



no JULIET. 

at her age, she must make her way to a 
certain place, and settle there decorously, an 
opinion which had roused Mrs. Mompesson's 
old spirit of contradictiousness, and made her 
resolve to do her travelling in as jaunty a 
style as possible. Thus, they stopped at 
Paris, and drove about sight-seeing, and one 
morning, when Juliet was walking along the 
Rue St. Honore, bent on a little private 
shopping, she felt a touch on her arm, and 
turning, found Doctor Thorns beside her. 
It did not seem strange to see him. He was 
not at Coombe, he might as well be here as 
anywhere else, haunting the libraries, and the 
salons of one or two of the literary friends, 
whom he seemed to have everywhere. Hut 
as she stood, her hand in his, gathering her 
thoughts together, it struck her that he was 
greatly changed, and looked ill. 

"Are you ill ?" she asked, impulsively. 

He took no notice of her question. 

" I saw you yesterday, going into the 



"CHECK." in 



Louvre, and the day before, at the Madeleine, 
but I kept out of the way as you did not 
come into mine. To-day, however, you do, 
so that alters the case. Where are you 
going ? " he said. 

" Only to Framboissart's. I can go 
another time." 

He smiled involuntarily, but coldly. 

" I don't want vou to walk with me. I 
meant, where are you going on to from 
Paris ? " 

" To Genoa ; but I don't yet know whe- 
ther by sea or rail." 

" That does not. concern me either — your 
route. I am remaining here indefinitely. 
So you are not at once bound for Rome ? ' 

" Oh, no! Mrs. Mompesson is disposed 
to enjoy herself and close Mrs. Quins lips 
against derogatory remarks on her age, not 
having yet reached the term when she will 
be proud of it. I shall not wonder if we 
winter partly in Florence.'' 



ii2 JULIET. 

" I, too, shall be on the move this winter, 
but not, I think, in Italy." 

"You will do well to stay away from 
Coombe." 

" From Coombe, yes. It is so dull, I 
suppose. The Hall empty until Spring, and 
then never a^ain what it has been." 

They had been walking on slowly : 
but, as though alarmed by his own words, 
he now suddenly stopped, with a keen, 
sidelong glance a t her, and raised his 
hat, ignoring, however, her outstretched 
hand. 

In another moment they had parted, his 
lips refusing to utter a word, and she, stand- 
in*^ still, heard the tap of his stick along the 
pavement for some seconds after. His tacit 
refusal to shake hands, had paralyzed her. 
She looked into a shop window without 
seeing anything in it, although it was the 
jeweller's of whom she had been in search ; 
and endeavoured to steady herself and over- 



11 check: 1 



ii3 



come her unwarrantable dismay. If she were 
the woman ever to have simply said, " Poor 
man," of a discarded lover, and passed on her 
way unheeding his pain, she would not at 
least have said it now. His whole aspect, 
that seemed in some unaccountable way 
dimmed, had struck anguish into her soul. 
She had turned from him ; he was turning 
from her. Was she to marry at the sacri- 
fice of life-long friendships ? She had often 
wanted him above any other human being, 
and she might again, in spite of her husband. 
Would he not be forthcoming ? Had she 
done a wicked thing in rejecting the love of 
this good man, whose love God had certainly 
willed to be hers ? Could she not have 
loved him if she would ? Was it she who had 
forced the iron into his heart and driven the 
light from his face ? She was not angry or 
impatient because he had clouded the day's 
bright sunshine for her. That was a very 
little thing now, when it struck her that 

VOL. III. 8 



ii4 ' JULIET. 

she had clouded his life's sunshine. Would 
Ormrod have worn this haggard look of 
sadness had it been him to whom she 
had said "No" — the comparison came to 
her involuntarily; she could not dismiss 
it without an answer, and that answer 
was, He never would. It was true, clear as 
daylight, that she had rejected the greater 
gift. 

Surely there was something radically 
wrong in herself, when her discrimination and 
free agency and common sense, could thus 
desert her. She did not do her shopping 
that day, but left the gay street and w< nt on 
slowly until she came to a church, which she 
entered. There she sat down on a prie-dieu, 
and laid her head upon another in front of 
her, and sat thinking in the dim liefht. across 
which sunbeams slanted through jewelled 
windows. When she presently got up and 
came out a^ain into the garish day. she was 
conscious of one ureat wish- that she might 



" check:' 



".5 



meet the Doctor again, and implore him to 
shake hands with her. 

But she did not see him again. So long 
as they stayed in Paris, he seemed to haunt 
her. Often she turned, thinking she heard 
his stick, or looked up, thinking she should 
meet his eyes ; but she never did, though 
she was certain he was not far away. The 
night before they left, she had two letters by 
the last post. One was from Ormrod, but 
when she glanced at the other, she opened it 
first. Its crabbed characters were not to be 
mistaken, nor the scrap of paper within the 
envelope — so thin and small, that at first she 
thought the envelope was empty. She had it 
in her hand in a moment, and was bending 
with it to the light. 

" Dear Juliet," it ran, — " I have a feeling 
that I shall like to know you know where I 
am to be found these next few months. 1 
ghall always know where to find you. Thus, 



n6 JULIET. 

when I arrive at a new place, I will at 
once post a note to you. That will be 
sufficient. 

" Yours faithfully, as ever, 

" Humphrey Thoms." 

She read these few words again and 
again, fully conscious of a hidden intention in 
them, but fearing to tell herself what it was. 
Yet she knew it from the first moment, in 
which it had seemed to clutch at her throat 
and half strangle her. Evervthinof he had said 
in the darkness of the glade at Coombe, came 
back to her as vividly as though no happy time 
of contented i^leanin^ had followed ; his in- 
sinuation, which she had spurned ; his know- 
ledge, that she had shrunk from, as interested 
prejudice, and had made her as heart-sick as 
a coward ; his question of the other day — 
11 So you are not bound at oncv for Rome ? ' 
- — all crowded upon her now with over- 
whelming 1 force, and made her dizzy. Why 



"CHECK." 117 



should he have spoken of Rome, but that 
Ormrod had spent last winter there ? Was 
there not something which Ormrod himself 
had feared that she should know ? Why did 
Doctor Thorns wish her to know where he 
could be found if she wanted him ? If she 
wanted him ! She saw clearly enough that 
action was now vested wholly in her hands. 
He would not again tell her that he wanted 
her. What was done hereafter, must be done 
by her. As she sat on the edge of her bed, 
thinking, thinking, that little note crushed in 
her hands, she felt that peace again had fled, 
the way was not plain before her, there still 
remained perplexity, difficulty, and calls for 
hope and faith in a tottering cause. 

Although she was thinking so acutely of 
Ormrod, she had forgotten his letter, which 
lay on the toilet table, as yet unopened. But 
presently she remembered it and went and 
opened it, reading it through with feverish 
eagerness, then pressing it to her lips pas- 



n8 JULIET. 

sionately, as though in some part to atone 
for her doubts. 

11 God knows I never doubted you until 
you gave me just cause ; nor ever -would, 
but that you made me; nor ever will, 
but that you make me ! ' she exclaimed, 
incoherently, scarcely knowing what she 
thought and said, so full was her heart, and 
dizzy her head, and tremulous her lips. 
Again she wanted comfort and support. But 
had Ormrod been there, he could not have 
comforted her ; he would not have under- 
stood her, for there were fine feelings and 
motives and aims in her, which he dimly felt, 
and stood and worshipped afar off, and of 
which, had she obtruded them too constantly 
on his notice, he might have wearied, and 
then pshawed as high-flown and uncom- 
fortable. Neither had he any support for 
her, but the practical proffer of an arm or 
a hand. /Kolian harps are for the wind to 
touch into music, not mortal fixigers ; and 



"CHECK." 119 



even so is it with some human hearts — no 
touch, or word, or glance, can tune them to 
their best attainments ; but there is an in- 
tuition, silent and strong, in delicatest 
sympathy, that sends spirit to spirit, and 
draws forth harmony with a breath as of 
heaven, where, but for it, harmony would 
have lain for ever hidden from this world's 
ken. 

The following day they proceeded on 
their journey. Mrs. Mompesson was in 
inordinately high spirits and good health, and 
had elected to go to Genoa by sea. Thus they 
spent some ten hours in getting down to 
Marseilles, and then had to wait half a day 
for the boat. It was voted by all, a tiresome 
journey ; even Mrs. Mompesson confessed 
to it, on condition that they would not 
divulge the mortifying fact to Mrs. Quin. 
To add to it, they found the placid Mediter- 
ranean in a fury. There had been a thunder- 
storm, and the waves were still roaring, and 



i2o JULIET. 

clutched their steamer as though it were a 
mere life-buoy, tossing it from crest to crest, 
and washing its decks with rushing seas that 
forced every one to go below. Every one 
was ill except Mrs. Mompesson, who gloried 
in her strength ; but, when morning broke, 
Juliet managed to get on deck, and finding 
comparative quiet in the elements, wrapped 
herself in an oilskin, and sat down to watch 
the shore and the gradual unfolding of one 
of earth's fairest cities ; feeling vigour and 
spirit return to her each minute, as the breeze 
blew, and the sun rose red in a space of 
saffron sky, whereon no cloudlet dared to 
rioat, and kissed the sea into rippling sparkle 
and glitter once more, and day threw off 
the veil of dawn, and showed the gleaming 
shore-line yield to Genoa Bay. 

She was not the only one who meant to 
see Genoa from the sea, as they ran before 
the wind. Many of the passengers were 
emerging from their berths, and Lily came 



"CHECK." 121 



up from below to join her. They both stood 
against the gunwale, absorbed and silent, and 
the shore grew clearer each moment ; the 
terraced heights, with their trees and vine- 
yards, lying close-pressed against the sky ; 
the fair, white city, glistening in marble and 
stone, falling from height to height, until it 
seemed to slip into the sea ; the long, black 
tongues of the moles, like giant arms thrown 
out in guardianship ; the crowds of shipping 
lying moored along the brown wharves, from 
which, now and then, a felucca disentangled 
itself, skimming like a bird with wing-like 
dips of its bright lateen sails, into the open 
bay that quivered with mother-o'-pearl tints, 
and yielded silver to the dipping oars. Then, 
as they drew nearer, they saw the wharves 
were crowded with people ; there grew upon 
their ears a babble of voices, shrill rather 
than sweet, above which was a clamour of 
bells, half seeming to come from heaven, as 
they tinkled from the chapels on the heights ; 



122 JULIET. 

there was a rope thrown, a jar, a rush of 
officials and hotel-agents and porters, and 
they were at their journey's end. 

" What will happen here V Juliet thought, 
dryly, as she stepped on shore. At Folke- 
stone she had thought that there was nothing 
more to happen. 



CHAPTER V. 



MOSAICS. 



"And how are they coming, Gran ?' ! 

" As we did ; and they may be here any 
day, any hour. So we shall live in a state 
of suspense, expecting the yacht from Naples 
and their packet from Marseilles. Now, I 
do so detest suspense, that I am feeling 
quite cross. I wish we did not see the 
quays from these rooms, for I know the 
glass will never be out of my hands. I wish 
you would ask Miss Laybourne to come here 
a minute. Where is she ? ' 

"In her own room, reading her letters ; 
and afterwards we are ^oinq; out. I am 



i2 4 JULIET. 

longing to go out. Don't keep her long, 
Gran." 

" It is only about these mosaics that I 
want her at all ; so she can come when she 
is dressed for your walk," said Mrs. Mom- 
pesson. 

Juliet's share of the day's mail was an 
unusually interesting one, for, among other 
letters, there was one from Doctor Thorns ; 
the second she had received since their 
arrival. He had written the first time from 
Bordeaux, on his way to Dax, and now he 
wrote from Dax. He had left Paris the 
same day as they, actuated, she felt, by an 
intolerable restlessness ; and his letter had 
been something more than a mere bulletin 
of arrival, leading her to hope that gradually 
he would write at more length, and, though 
distantly, with comparative freedom. Nor 
was she disappointed. 

This second letter was even diffuse, touch- 
ing on many subjects, and covering many 



MOSAICS, 125 



scraps of paper. There was none of the old 
racy humour, but there was more unreserve, 
and she felt that not only was it a great 
pleasure to her to receive it, but that it had 
been a relief and solace to him to write it. 
Nevertheless, the curious medley of scraps 
and the crabbed characters, made her eyes 
ache and confused her brain before she 
reached the end. He did not say anything 
about himself or his travels, but had gone 
back two or three months to his visit to 
Moorhead, and described it and his impres- 
sions of Brunskill. 

He had enjoyed himself, and his mental 
and moral being had evidently experienced 
a fillip by the very isolation of the place. 
The moors had wrought upon him strongly. 
He and Jules Gliddon had had frequent talks 
over the old days at Caius ; he thought 
Ursula Gliddon a stronger mixture of sound 
sense and enthusiastic kindliness than ever ; 
he and Brunskill had walked much together, 



126 JULIET. 

their quick friendliness had acquired piquancy 
from the innocence of the Gliddons, and 
he had heard from his own lips, the circum- 
stances of his parents' deaths, which cer- 
tainly, to so sensitive and loyal a mind, must 
excuse his pertinacious secresy. Still he 
thought, and always would, that the Mom- 
pessons should have known the truth before 
Isabel's marriage, for it was certain he would 
marry, and then, by his own confession, they 
must know. But he was not a man whom 
it was easy to turn from a once-formed 
purpose. 

Lily rapped at her door just as she 
finished this letter. But there was one from 
Mrs. Lay bourne, too, and she tore it open 
with Lily standing by the table, whereon 
envelopes and paper were scattered in con- 
fusion, She glanced down it, as Lily delivered 
her message. 

11 Gran wants you, please, Miss Laybourne. 
She has got some mosaics sent from a shop. 



MOSAICS. 127 



and she wants you to help to choose a set 
for Bel, but she says you can put on your 
things first for our walk." 

" Yes, directly," said Juliet, mechanically, 
noting the weekly home items of news, 
amonor which was the announcement of 
Sophie's happy motherhood. 

" And we have letters," Lily went on, 
beating an excited tattoo on the table, " and 
the yacht has left Naples, and Uncle Oliver 
is at Marseilles, and they may come on by 
the next packet — this morning's, you know. 
And Gran has been ordering rooms in this 
hotel for every one, and Uncle Oliver speaks 
of our having- a villa on the hills for a month. 
May we go down to the quays, Miss Lay- 
bourne ? The packet will soon be due, and 
they may be there — all of them, you know — " 
with an arch persuasive emphasis, " and the 
courier could go with us, could he not ? ' 

Juliet smiled, but did not answer. She 
was ready now, but just as they left the 



128 JULIET. 

room her eyes fell on the little table with its 
litter of letters. It would not do to leave 
them about. Hastily collecting them, she 
opened her desk, intending to put them all 
in, but the thought struck her, that if they 
went a quiet walk, it would be pleasant to 
loiter and re-read them. So she took out 
a larger fresh envelope, and pushing the 
budget within, slipped it into her pocket, and 
locking the door of her room, crossed the 
corridor to their private sitting-room. 

Mrs. Mompesson was sitting in the win- 
dow, which was wide open. In the balcony 
a deep crimson cactus glowed. The streets 
below, were noisy with voices, steps, and 
vehicles. Bevond the melee of roofs, there 
was a reach of the silver sea, eflittering' in 
the sun, lapping the bases of the quays and 
moles, studded with ships and feluccas, and 
vanishing into a hot mist of sky. This, Mrs. 
Mompesson was eagerly scanning, with her 
elbows propped on the arms of her chair, 



MOSAICS. 129 



and a fine marine binocular glass in her 
hands. But when the door opened, she put 
this down, and turned her attention to a 
jeweller's box, wherein lay some exquisite 
mosaics. 

" You will have heard our news," she 
said ; " I am so glad I ordered these, when 
we were driving yesterday, for I want them 
ready for Bel. Are they not lovely ? the 
gold filigree so delicate ? What do you 
think of these roses and convolvuli ? And I 
should like this bracelet reserved for Caro- 
line. Will you just write a line to the 
jeweller, and tell him to reserve it, for a day 
or two ? The man is waiting ; just a line on 
anything, to slip into the box." 

At that moment Lily came in. 

" May we go down to the Quays ?" she 
asked, eagerly. 

"Ask Mrs. Mompesson while I write 
this," said Juliet. 

Mrs. Mompesson had" taken up the glass 

VOL III. 9 



T30 JULIET. 

again, and was looking at a faint line of smoke 
gradually emerging from the mist. 

" There comes the Marseilles boat ; I 
would give something to know if they are on 
her," she said. " What, you want to go down 
there, in all this heat and glare ? " she added, 
as Lily urged her request ; " you must take 
Carl, of course. I wish I could see the land- 
ing-stage, I am certain I could distinguish 
them." 

Lily had rushed to the bell to summon 
Carl, and then darted back to hurry Juliet, 
who was writing in pencil, and wondering if 
her Italian bore thus perpetuating. In her 
haste, she had not troubled to open Mrs. 
Mompesson's escritoire, but remembering 
the clean envelope in her pocket, had emptied 
it of its contents, and was writing on the out- 
side. It was finished now, and she put it in 
the box, as Carl appeared, followed by the 
porter in charge of the mosaics. Gathering 
up her letters, she ran across to her room 



MOSAICS. 131 



with them, and locked them in the desk. 
Then they went downstairs, attended by 
Carl, whose duty it was, to fall respectfully 
behind, or clear the way, as necessity com- 
pelled. 

It was undeniably hot in the streets, as 
they traversed one after another, and lost the 
fresh air of the higher ground. The orange- 
trees in their tubs, drooped, parched and 
dusty. Here and there, dogs lay panting 
with lolling tongues ; mules ambled drowsily, 
scarcely affected by the sharp crack of their 
drivers' whips ; they passed a door-step where 
a girl sat asleep, her head thrown back 
against the wall, her black hair dishevelled, 
her black eyelashes sweeping her dusky 
cheeks, and beside her a tambourine, that had 
dropped from her nerveless hands ; then a 
violin player, who with one ear laid affec- 
tionately near the strings, might have been 
thought asleep, too, but for the motion of his 
right arm. A few English lionizers were the 



1 32 JULIET. 

only brisk elements in the scene, some were 
studying their Baedekers, some reading 
letters, some peering at the marble pillars 
of a palace, some eating grapes in genuine 
al fresco fashion, but all contrived to look 
alive, and determined to let nothing escape 
them. They were glad when they emerged 
from the close streets on to the quays, and 
faced the shimmering sea, with its drowsy 
lap against the rocking craft of every descrip- 
tion, though they found themselves in a 
crowd of picturesque figures, sinewy-limbed 
and swarthy, in tattered clothes and broad 
sombrero hats. On all sides were shrill cries, 
deep-voiced shouts from sailor to sailor, and 
the babbling under-current of musical vowels. 
Juliet made her way through the crowd, pro- 
vokine remark on her erect bearing and calm 
face, from a people whose languor hides 
passions that can leap in a moment to self- 
assertion ; Lily, with her fair loveliness, was 
the object of their admiration. Preparations 



MOSAICS. 133 



for lashing the steamer were already being 
made, and they pressed up to the balustrade 
as it bore down towards them, with the water 
flying in silver flakes from its paddles, and 
then easing, worked slowly round, showing 
them the crowded deck. As it touched the 
quay, a man, leaning against the paddle-box, 
raised himself, and came slowly aft. It was 
Ormrod, and the next moment his eyes fell 
on Lily, and travelled eagerly to Juliet. She 
smiled at him, and he waved his hand. But 
in the commotion of landing, he lost sight of 
her, and when he presently reached Lily, she 
had disappeared. He only waited to see 
Lily into a carriage with the Quins, and then 
drew Carl into his service, and started in hot 
pursuit. 

Juliet, however, had walked too quickly 
to be overtaken, and was safe in her own room 
when they reached the hotel. She was listen- 
ing for their steps in the corridor, stand- 
ing with a quickly-beating heart just within 



'34 JULIET. 



the door. They came that way, and were 
talking. 

" And the young ladies have been quite 
well ? ' said Ormrod, in slightly halting 
German. 

" Yees, yees, quite veil, sare," Carl 
answered, in halting English. 

" That is veil," said Ormrod with a lau^h. 

He was evidently in high spirits, and she 
went to a chair and sat down, and wondered 
why she had run away. She had certainly 
had no intention of doing so, when she went 
to the quay, calm in the prospect of soon 
seeing him ; and when she had seen him, her 
delight and happiness had been great. Then 
the next moment, she was irresistibly impelled 
to go, though she knew she was leaving him 
in the lurch, and preparing deliberate dis- 
appointment for him just when she had raised 
his expectations to the probability of a loiter- 
ing walk together. It was true, however, 
that she had not expected they would come 



MOSAICS. 135 



that day, and that she was not prepared to 
meet him. Since she had last seen him, the 
evenness had left the tenour of her way, 
and anxiety had generated a resolve for 
decisive action, presenting to her mind two 
alternatives : the one that of unhesitating 
marriage as quickly as possible ; the other a 
second challenge to him to be honest with 
her, and confess to wrong-doing, if wrong- 
doing there had been. 

It was perfectly clear to her that she could 
not go on labouring under suspense, uncer- 
tainty, and suspicion. She must stop all that, 
by resolute action in one of the two courses 
open to her, and regulate her manner accord- 
ingly, from the first moment of their meeting 
again. When she saw him on the boat, she 
had not made up her mind to either course 
distinctively. Yet she was angry with herself 
for her flight. He might think it coquetry, 
and she could only stigmatize it as cowardly. 
She sat calmly reviewing all that had trans- 



136 JULIET. 

pired, and the wheels within wheels now set 
in motion, and when she at last rose, she had 
resolved to take the course of unquestioning 
faith and defiance, and to tell him that if she 
were to marry him at all, it must be quickly. 
Meanwhile, she must brace herself for the 
unknown issues of such a step, by every means 
at her command, and as a preliminary she 
fell upon her knees and prayed. 

That evening she w T as standing in the 
window, watching the moon rise over the 
sea, when Ormrod came up behind her. 
It was their first opportunity for more than 
an exchange of Greetings, and she moved to 
one side, and leant against the casement, 
looking at him, as he held her hand. It was 
a long and wistful look, and she did not 
speak, but presently turned to the window- 
again, and together they silently saw a silver 
track broaden across the water, until the 
whole bay lay in mystic light. The moles 
stretched out on either hand like black 



MOSAICS. 137 



tongues, and the shadowiness of the shore 
was here and there pricked out with silver 
white, as the light caught a villa, set among 
olive and myrtle groves, or a martello-tower, 
rising on an aloe-covered crag. Behind them, 
Mrs. Mompesson and the Quins were dis- 
cussing the villa project. Ormrod softly 
threw up the window, and they stepped out 
on to the balcony ; far down the street some 
one was twanging" a guitar. 

Before they came in again, they had 
arranged to take a boat the next day, and to 
be quietly alone for a talk. Juliet's resolve 
having so far communicated itself to him, 
that he felt matters were reaching the only 
safe climax. 

For thoughts of that to-morrow, Juliet 
knew, when she reached her room, that it 
was useless to try to sleep. She let down 
her hair, and stood a long time, softly brush- 
ing it, then went to the window, whose deep 
embrasure had a cushioned seat, and sitting 



138 JULIET. 

down, rested her head against the cool glass. 
She sat thus, an hour, and heard one bell 
after another, toll midnight, a solemn sound, 
that added to the calm of the sleeping city ; 
but, in some indefinable way, increased her 
restlessness. She found it impossible to 
stem the tumultuous current of her thoughts, 
or to control the strong affection that was 
now on the point of setting risk and mis- 
giving at defiance, and braving regret. She 
tried again to pray, but it was mere mockery 
to invoke God's help, when her mind was 
made up, and full of human love, and hope, 
and desire. Neither could she soothe her- 
self by her old habits of self-examination, 
and searching of the motives of her inmost 
heart. The fervency of her thought became 
exhausting and bewildering ; and at last she 
lay down. But it was only to toss about, 
seeking for rest, and finding none ; and over- 
come by this unusual intolerable restlessness, 
she got up again, and walked to and fro. 



MOSAICS. 139 



Suddenly, she remembered her letters of the 
morning. She would re-read them. 

She went to her desk, unlocked it, and 
took out the hastily-collected budget, then 
arranged the many sheets, and left Doctor 
Thorns' for the last. When she got to this, 
she read it more carefully than at first, and 
to her surprise, found that one passage to 
which she especially wished to refer, was now 
conspicuous by its absence. She turned the 
scraps over and over, arranged them sequen- 
tially, and numbered them, with the certain 
result of one being missing, and that, the one 
which — so far as she could remember — 
named \Brunskill directly, in connection with 
the Mompessons, and drew a comparison 
between the Mompessons and the Gilberts, 
in terms derogatory to the former. An un- 
comfortable feeling came over her, that she 
must have dropped that piece of paper some- 
where. She searched through her desk, 
turned out the pocket of her morning-dress, 



14° JULIET. 

and examined every part of the room. But 
in vain. Nowhere was there a trace of 
another effort of that crabbed caligraphy, and 
the more certain this became, the more in- 
delibly were the words it perpetuated, branded 
on her memory. There was no doubt that 
this one scrap was of vital importance, and 
might lead to a full discovery of the secret, 
Brunskill wished so tenaciously to keep from 
his relations ; and now she felt that it might 
be lying somewhere where either Mrs. Mom- 
pesson or Mrs. Quin was as likely to chance 
upon it as herself. She would have gone at 
once to search the sitting-room, but that Mrs. 
Mompesson's room opened from it, and she 
would probably be overheard. She opened 
her door, and ventured into the corridor, 
lamp in hand ; but scarcely had she done so, 
than another door opened further down, and 
a gentleman came out, equipped for an early 
journey. She knew that a porter would be 
coming up for his luggage, and also, that it 



MOSAICS. 141 



was now eettinor to an hour when she would 
be liable to such interruptions, so she gave 
up her idea of searching there, consoling her- 
self by the chance of a draught of air having 
carried it into a corner, or under the fringe of 
a mat. Her own affairs dwindled in impor- 
tance before this unexpected anxiety, and 
she became absorbed in speculations as to 
the consequences that would ensue, if Mrs. 
Mompesson, or Mrs. Quin, were to find and 
read that half page. So far as she could 
remember, it would only be likely to be- 
wilder any one uninitiated, beyond the per- 
sonality of the names , but in a person with 
the slightest clue, would rouse suspicions 
closely bordering on the truth. Not for the 
world would she have had discovery happen 
through her carelessness. Eve-like, she 
blamed Doctor Thorns, for his habit of using 
such odds and ends of paper, as it was almost 
impossible to keep together. 

About three o'clock, -she lay down again 



1 42 JULIET. 

and fell asleep, being awoke at seven by the 
thudding of some waggons, laden with build- 
ine stone, over the lava-slabbed street. Her 
head and eyes ached violently ; but she 
bathed them in cold water, put on her dress- 
ing-gown, and went to the sitting-room. 
There her search was equally futile, and then 
she tried to persuade herself that there was 
no cause for all this anxiety, that those words 
had only existed in her imagination, or must 
have escaped into her pocket, and thence 
with her handkerchief, perhaps, on the 
Molo, where the breeze would instantly 
w T hirl them away, never again to be seen by 
mortal eyes. But Ormrod was not the only 
one at breakfast who noticed a change in 
her, though he was the only one from whom 
she endeavoured to hide it, lest he should 
misconstrue it into something not encourag- 
ing to the course of action she had insinuated 
the previous night, and was now again fever- 
ishly anxious to have frankly determined. 



MOSAICS. 143 



Yet, in spite of this preoccupied anxiety, 
she avoided him during the next hour. He 
could not catch her eye ; she scarcely opened 
her lips during the time devoted to letters 
and papers, and he did not know that this 
was the first occasion on which she had not 
then withdrawn to her own room ; she moved 
about the room restlessly, taking up work, 
and opening books, and fingering everything 
upon a table where she and Lily had some 
sketches and colour-boxes ; and she vouch- 
safed him no glance of mutual congratulation 
when Quin presently disposed of himself by 
going down to the Quays. Mrs. Mompesson 
had asked Mrs. Ouin to drive with her to 
the Via Soziglia, at the same time display- 
ing the mosaics she had purchased for Isabel. 
Mrs. Quin did not approve of them. Rome 
w T as the place for mosaics, and here the Via 
d'Orefici should be patronized for the pale 
pink coral or silver filigree that were special- 
ties in Genoese workmanship. So they de- 



i 4 4 [ULIET. 

termined to go there and choose a bracelet ; 
but must drive to Via Soziglia tco, to relieve 
the tradesman from the reserve placed upon 
a mosaic. In this shopping expedition, Mrs. 
Mompesson insisted on including Lily, and 
all the more imperiously, because Mrs. Ouin, 
with her usual amiability, peremptorily de- 
sired that Lily should remain with her 
governess. In her opinion it was preposter- 
ous that a governess should be accommo- 
dated with leisure for love-making ; but Mrs. 
Mompesson delighted in love-making, had 
prophesied that Ormrod would make success- 
ful advances to Juliet, and was delighted that 
her prophecy had been fulfilled beyond her 
highest expectations. Ormrod, who had 
been out smoking a cigar, returned as the 
three ladies descended, and, after seeing 
them into the carriage, bounded upstairs 
three steps at a time, and closed the door 
upon himself and Juliet. 

He went across the room to where she 



MOSAICS. 145 



was standing, looking" desultorily through a 
newspaper, and he had in his hand a bunch 
of Banksia roses, on which some drops of 
dew still lingered. Detaching one or two, 
he deftly placed them at her throat, then 
stepped back to see the effect. 

"Juliet," he said, "next year your por- 
trait shall be in the Academy, and I will 
paint you in that pale pink gown, and there 
shall not be an ornament about you, save and 
except those roses. When we are married, 
dear, I will never have you in anything but 
pale colours, before you are forty. Now go 
and put on your hat, and if it has any arti- 
ficialities in it, take them out, and I'll put in 
these other roses. They suit you to a T, 
and I'm proud of you now as ever, outwardly 
as well as inwardly." 

" What spirits you are in," she said, with 
a smile; but it was pleasant to be com- 
manded, and she instantly obeyed, 

Within half-an-hour they, too, were down 

VOL. HI. I0 



146 JULIET. 

on the Quays, and he was employing her to 
charter a boat. Some dexterity was needed 
to steer clear of the craft of every description 
that filled the harbour ; but, once out in the 
open bay, Ormrod drew up his oars and 
leant forward on them for a good talk. It 
was soon clear to both, that their intentions 
and wishes were synonymous ; but, while he 
was almost boyishly light-hearted, she was 
calm, and more matter-of-fact than she had 
ever imagined she could be, at such a crisis. 
At first she endeavoured to throw off this ex- 
traordinary tranquillity, fearing it would chill 
and repress him, just when he had the most 
right to expect the frankest responsiveness ; 
but, seeing that he did not notice it, she gave 
up the attempt, and sat listening and looking, 
in what seemed to herself a dream. Was it 
possible that she had agreed to be his wife 
at the end of three months from that day, 
and not only agreed, but anticipated the 
request ; throwing] into the anticipation, a 



MOSAICS. 147 



feverish anxiety and resolution, that outraged 
herself and all her preconceived, tenderly 
cherished ideas, of the eternal fitness of 
womanly modesty and reserve ? Assuredly 
something had robbed the old, time-hon- 
oured, yet ever new, situation, of its sacred 
olamour. This was not what she had dreamt 
of when the supreme moment should come, 
in which he who was to be her nearest and 
dearest upon earth, and whose unfailing help- 
mate she hoped to be, asked her to tell him 
when she would be his wife. " My happy 
wife" he had said ; and she had not smiled, 
or blushed, or looked away for one little all- 
dazzled minute. There had been no sudden 
tremble, no tumult of joy in her heart, but a 
relief and practical decision that was hard 
and that appalled her. She had looked at 
him unwaveringly, with a measured look that 
was not scrutiny, but equally was not con- 
fidence — that was not unhappiness, but was 
far from joy. There was ho spontaneousness 



148 JULIET. 

about her, no frank surrender, no sense of 
having attained all her heart could wish for, 
and being satisfied. And as she looked, she 
wondered if she loved him. Was this love 
that kept her pale and calm, and seemed to 
be straining her to some grand effort, not of 
self-control, but rather of sympathy. She sat 
still, her eyes fixed upon him in an anguish 
of feeling which she was powerless to define, 
but which gradually seemed to want to ex- 
press itself in words. Suddenly she leant 
forward, placing one hand on his, and her 
eyes widened with tears. 

" I pity you !" she said. 

Ormrod was undeniably startled. He 
had perceived by this that she was exceed- 
ingly quiet, and had a distressed air, and he 
was on the point of asking her if she did 
not feel well. Such a sentiment was the 
last thing he had expected, and he looked 
amazed. 

" Why on earth should you ? ' he said, 



MOSAICS. 149 



in a tone of pique ; " that is not much to the 
purpose, Juliet. If you were to congratulate 
me, now, you should see I would forgive the 
conceit." 

" Congratulate you, no. I don't know 
how it is, I never knew it before, but it is 
very true, I believe ; don't despise it, Noll. 

Perhaps, after all, it is the best I , still it 

cannot be. Oh, Noll, if I had not loved you, 
if I had not hoped to marry you, I never 
could have let you kiss me. I always vowed 
I never would be kissed but by the man who 
was to be my husband. Then how is it ? I 
ought not to be saying / pity you, yet it felt 
so true ? " 

" My dear Juliet, it must be the heat ; you 
are overdone. I have done wrong to bring 
you out here ; of course, it is different to our 
Northern Octobers. Keep quiet, and don't 
torture yourself by thinking. Besides, you 
are all at sea, I don't need your pity. 
You meant something "very different— you 



150 JULIET. 



meant to say, / love you ; now didn't 
you ? 

He was slowly paddling with one oar, to 
carry the boat round for the shore, but was 
regarding" her with a caressing smile ; and 
after a moment she smiled back. His heart 
bounded at that smile. He had really been 
seriously alarmed for a minute, and it had 
flashed into his mind that she was liorht- 
headed. The idea was so preposterous, more 
than ordinarily of the uncomfortable type in 
which she sometimes indulged — unconscious* 
he was certain, how uncomfortable they were. 
What the deuce was he to be pitied for ? he 
was one of the luckiest and happiest of men. 
Such a remark was a delusion and a snare, 
perplexing to him and tempting her most 
naturally, to tears. He could not endure to 
see tears in her eyes, and he wished, rather 
uneasily, that that answering smile of hers, 
had not been so ineffably sweet. He could 
have vowed that his voice would have failed 



MOSAICS. 151 



him, had he the next moment, tried to speak. 
She was a peerless woman, but such smiles 
were risky things. It did not do for a man 
to weep, especially when there was nothing 
to weep for, as in the present instance. And 
she had really given him a fright, his heart 
had leapt into his mouth, he had thought for 
a second, just one second of time, that she 
was going to break faith with him, had 
trapped and deceived him. Whereas the 
truth, of course, was, that she had been 
deceived, or rather had deceived herself, by 
some morbid wretched scruple. He believed 
some women dallied most pertinaciously 
over scruples of conscience when they were 
happiest ; made a point of it, in fact, as a 
set-off against too much security. One thing 
was certain, Juliet must not be morbid, or she 
would spoil herself wickedly. 

" My dearest," he said, softly, " remember 
what we settled at Coombe. We might live 
very quietly hereabouts for a year or two — - 



152 JULIET. 

only for a year or two, you know, and then 
launch out. If you have any trouble on your 
mind now, you must tell me at once. I 
could not bear to think you ever cried when 
I was not by. There is no earthly reason 
why you should, dear. We love each other. 
All is going well." 

"It was not that," she said — "not 
that at all. Neither could I make vou 
understand. I scarcely know myself, but 
things come over one unexpectedly some- 
times." 

She did not tell him what it was that 
had come over her and paralyzed her — the 
thought that in making her happy, he might 
be making another woman miserable, whom, 
but for her. he might have loved and made 
happy, even happier than she had thought to 
be. Juliet knew well that such things as two 
women loving one man, did happen in this 
world ; and she was not one calmly to accept 
her fate, if the lot fell upon her, without a 



MOSAICS. 153 



thought of regret or pain for her on whom it 
had not fallen. The idea was perfectly just 
in her opinion, that though she might love 
well, the other might love better, and thus 
suffer more from failure than she would have 
done. She was a woman capable of finding 
comfort in her own disappointments, by re- 
flecting that another had escaped them in 
her stead. What she pitied in Ormrod, was 
the weakness that led him to cause misery, 
where moral strength would have reaped 
honour and a good credit. She set down 
her sudden impulse to honesty, entirely to 
overwrought feeling, and was thankful to 
have escaped the mistake of attributing it to 
a more serious cause. Presently when he 
saw that she really looked better, he allowed 
the boat to drift again, and after carefully 
arranging the cushions to give her greater 
ease of posture, fell back into conversation, 
being sincerely wishful to re-assure her, with- 
out appearing to see that she had needed it. 



154 JULIET. 

There was still much that he wished to say 
to her, and this was a golden opportunity, 
unlikely to occur often, since he had now- 
received a double impetus to work, and she 
was not often thus at liberty. He wished to 
impress fully upon her mind, the great fact of 
his love being entirely hers. The word flirt 
was never named between them, but he knew 
she knew he was a flirt, and he wished her to 
understand, beyond all possibility of mistake, 
that she was the one woman with whom he 
had never flirted, for the simple reason that 
he loved her, and always would. What affairs, 
outside of this, she heard of in the past, or 
future, she must receive and consider as 
mere peccadilloes. It was not unnatural 
that such a man should fall into the immense 
error of considering, that where his real love 
was bestowed, it would be deemed a price- 
less gift, to be the more valued in propor- 
tion to the number of those who had not 
won it. 



MOSAICS. 155 



And while his thoughts took this bent, 
hers took another. She was thinking, with 
passionate, noble intention, what the hidden 
life of their home should be — that life which 
assuredly it is a woman's highest privilege to 
influence and adorn ; how it must be free 
from sordid aims and selfish desires and 
uncharitableness, and be sanctified by high 
endeavour and single-minded purpose. She 
was praying for grace to live up to her 
ideal. 

Slowly they drifted back, loth to leave 
the lovely sea plains for the busy haunts of 
men, the noisy quays and stifling streets. 

" We will go up the Ouesia Valley next 
time, and set our affections on a villa some- 
where, since you have converted me to your 
wishes," he said, as he helped her out of the 
boat. 

They went along the crowded wharves. 
Suddenly the throng of people opened, and 
they saw Quin coming towards them. He 



i56 



JULIET. 



raised his hand to arrest their attention. 
He looked hurried, eager, and anxious. 

" Miss Laybourne," he said, 4< I must 
speak to you. Go on, Ormrod." 



/T* 






rV/<<**». 




CHAPTER VI. 

" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE ? 



>> 



Ormrod went on, and Juliet waited with 
Quin, who stood still, and taking a pocket- 
book from his breast pocket, opened it, and 
passed her a piece of paper, covered with 
small writing. She recognized it instantly. 

''Where did you find it?' she asked, 
breathlessly. 

" Then you know it ? It is yours. I wish 
to God I had found it, then it would not have 
fallen into Gran's hands " 

" She found it then ? Where ? I searched 
all over, everywhere I could think of." 

14 She did not find it. it seems you wrote 



158 JULIET. 

to a jeweller yesterday on the outside of an 
envelope. They went to Via Soziglia an 
hour or two ago, and he had found this in- 
side the envelope. He gave it to Gran, and 
she, of course, read it, having no idea to 
whom it could belong. Then she identified 
the handwriting, and Lily said you had heard 
from the Doctor, and we concluded it must 
be yours. Does it mean anything or not ? 
I am annoyed that Thorns and you should 
be discussing the Mompessons versus the 
Gilberts in a letter, and that, apparently in 
connection with a third person going under 
the initial of B. If you know so much of 
my wife's family history as to have some 
clue to the whereabouts of her brother 
Richard, pray explain all as quickly as pos- 
sible. Let us walk on. Thev are naturally 
in great suspense and trouble." 

He was stirred beyond anything but 
sharp impatience. His leisurely air had 
deserted him for explicit coherency, which 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE ? " 159 

demanded reciprocal coherency, and delivered 
itself in unnatural jerks. Juliet knew that it 
was only the pressure of an immense effort, 
that gave him power to speak at all. His 
voice was husky, and he looked straight ahead 
as he walked, edging his way instinctively. 

" I can give you his address, that you 
may communicate with him." 

" His address ? Then he is living ?' 

" Not Richard Mompesson, but ' 

" But what ?" he asked, turning and look- 
ing straight at her, as she hesitated, realizing 
the greatness of the blow in store for him ; 
for it had struck her that he had felt secure 
of Richard Mompesson's death in spite of 
his question. 

" His son is living," she said. 

" Good God ! " he said, under his breath ; 
" and does he know all that he can claim ? 
He cannot, or — why did we not know this 
before Bel's marriage ? ' he added, fiercely. 

" Because he does know his rights, and 



i6d JULIET. 

will claim nothing yet, if ever. Coombe he 
will never claim, either for himself or his 
children, supposing he marry. ' ; 

Ouin breathed a deep sigh of relief, but 
was still possessed by doubts. 

" You speak confidently, Miss Laybourne, 
with more authority than you would, were 
you merely repeating the assurances of a 
man whom you did not know. Do you know 
this man ? " 

" Yes, and so do you, both personally and 
by correspondence. He is the Moorhead 
schoolmaster, under whom you placed Mr. 
Ormrod. ,> 

He stopped and stared at her. 

"Impossible!' he said, with a nervous 
laugh. 

" It is true. Gilbert Brunskill, so-called, 
is your nephew as much as Henry Mom- 
pesson was, before he became your son-in-law. * 

" And how long have you known this ? 
And why did not we know ? " 



" WILL YOU BE MY W1FEV c6i 

" I have known nearly a year, and sus- 
pected it much longer. I found it out by 
chance, the main fact ; but know no more, ex- 
cept the coincidences and accidents and con- 
clusions by which I arrived at my knowledge." 

They had reached the hotel now, and, in 
going upstairs, he asked if it had been she 
who told the Doctor. 

" Yes, under circumstances of discovery 
on his part which more than excused the 
confidence. He went to Moorhead, and 
made every effort to induce Mr. Brunskill 
to be candid with you, in the face of Isabel's 
marriage, But Mr. Brunskill is not a man 
to be turned from his purposes, and saw no 
occasion to yield for your sake ; since if he 
ever took steps to substantiate his claims, 
they would tend rather to add to your peace 
of mind, than otherwise. He will be content 
with less than Coombe." 

" He must be mad ; what Quixotic fancy 
influences him ? " 

VOL III. II 



r62 JULIET. 

" Simply that, I believe, of loyalty to his 
mother's memory. He resented the thought 
of connecting himself with those who had 
resented the fact of her marriage." 

" Utopian ! ' said Quin, dryly, and she 
assented, feeling, nevertheless, that such 
Utopianism would not pass him, unappre- 
ciated. 

He did not ask her to go in to Mrs. 
Mompesson's room, but requested her to 
write out two telegrams for his approbation, 
the one to Brunskill summoning him to come 
at once and to bring with him what papers 
in proof of identity he might possess, the 
other to Doctor Thorns. Juliet naturally won- 
dered why he should want the Doctor, and 
the singularity of such a suggestion struck 
him, too, when reflected on her expressive 
face. 

" He will be a support to the other," he 
said, leaving her. 

Juliet smiled to herself; Brunskill was 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 163 

not the kind of man to require extraneous 
support at any juncture ; she could not 
imagine him losing either calmness or self- 
possession, let alone nerve. She knew 
exactly how he would come ; with perfect 
coolness and quietude, even-voiced, courteous 
and observant, carrying conviction to his 
sharpest deteriorators without apparently a 
thought to the necessity for conviction, or to 
any proof beyond his word and presence ; 
assuredly they would have no need for shame 
of him ; and she anticipated the situation, 
with the keen enjoyment of a mind capable 
of appreciating the dramatic touches of 
life. 

As Quin disappeared into the sitting-room, 
a door higher in the corridor opened, and 
Ormrod sallied forth, very evidently devoured 
with curiosity and speculation. 

"What is up?" he asked, in cautious 
tones, as she held up a warning finger ; " I 
got home before you, and found Mrs. Mom- 



164 JULIET. 

pesson hysterical, and incessantly calling for 
you, and yet you have not gone to her." 

" I can't tell you anything," she returned, 
" only there are more important affairs in the 
world than even yours and mine. Have you 
seen Lily ? " 

" No. Is it the yacht — collision, smash- 
up, watery death, et cetera ? ' 

" Nothine of the kind. You would never 
guess ; don't be inquisitive ;" and she passed 
on to her own room. 

Lily was there, sitting coiled up in the 
window-seat. She had seen and heard all 
that passed, none the less painfully because 
she was not a girl to show what she felt or 
suffered, except by perfect silence ; and was 
now in a state of intolerable suspense. Juliet 
sat down, and in mercy told her all she knew, 
representing it in as cheerful a light as pos- 
sible, and reassuring her on the vital point of 
her brother's interests. They had not talked 
Ion '\ however, before Sibbert came for her. 



'• WILL YOU BE MY WIFEV 165 



She was to go to Mrs. Mompesson, and en- 
deavour to soothe her. This was a very old 
story, with the simple difference that there 
was now every excuse for hysterical excita- 
bility. Quin was going to the office to des- 
patch the telegrams himself, and Mrs. Quin 
had lapsed into a stony silence, which must 
exhaust itself. The jalousies were closed, 
and Juliet could not at first distinguish any- 
thing in the dim room. Mrs. Mompesson 
was on the couch, still wearing her driving 
things, which they had not been able to 
induce her to have taken off; her bonnet- 
strings were untied and thrown back over 
her shoulders, and her cloak w r as loosened 
and awry. She was fanning herself, and 
held a bottle of salts in the other hand. A 
handkerchief on her knees was steeped in 
tears. She no sooner saw Juliet than she 
dropped the fan, and, holding out both hands w 
exclaimed sharply : 

" So you have known Richard's son all 



1 66 JULIET. 

your life, and never told me. You minx ! 
Do you think I shall ever forgive you ? ' 

Then she laughed and nodded her head, 
and her hands dropping into her lap. she 
felt the damp handkerchief. Taking it up, 
she threw it into a corner, with the action of 
a petulant child. 

" Wet tiling ! " she said ; " Sibbert, bringf 
another. No, I shan't want it. I am not 
going to cry again, there's nothing to cry 
about. Have I not heard of Richard, my 
darling boy ? He may be dead, but he left 
a son — he left a son," with a gleeful lauo-h 
and another knowing nod. " He left a son," 
she again repeated. "What will Henry say 
to that ? — Henry and his bride, ha ! ha ! Eh, 
Caroline ? Oliver says he doesn't want 
Coombe ; all cant and humbug ! He shan't 
be asked if he wants it — it is his, he shall 
have it ; don't speak, Caroline, not one word. 
Let there be no attempt at defrauding him of 
his rights. Nothing of that kind would stand 



11 WILL YOU BE MY WIFE ?" 167 

in a court of law; there's the entail; Henry's 
a mere interloper, and I always knew it, 
always. I wonder at you, Caroline, with 
your caution, letting your daughter link her- 
self to such a risk." Then her tone changed 
from triumphant maliciousness to sharp re- 
sentment, and she fixed her eyes on Juliet, 
who had sat quietly down by her, " So you've 
had my affairs in your keeping, Miss Lay- 
bourne ! do you know, I call that arrant im- 
pertinence on your part ? " 

" I do not wonder," Juliet said in her clear, 
low voice ; " but one must regard the wishes of 
others more loyally than one's own. You will 
soon know all now, and see Mr. Brunskill." 

" Who is he like ? His mother ? ' 

" Yes, most like his mother's family ; a 
handsome man, of whom you will be justly 
proud." 

"It's a pity Bel married Henry," said 
Mrs. Mompesson, in a confidential whisper, 
meant, nevertheless, to reach Mrs. Ouin. 



168 JULIET. 

" Not at all, unless you are wishing 
the wed diner to come over again. She 
never would have married any one else." 

" She's a fool ! ' was the retort, and her 
lips snapped. 

Juliet had taken her hands, and was ten- 
der! v stroking: them ; an action which from 
her, always acted mesmerically upon this 
excitable mind that had expended its best 
vitality in useless struggles for its own way 
and will, against all obstacles of God and 
man. She was a sad enough sight now. 
defrauded of the natural right of her vears, 
to untroubled tranquillity, with a bewildered 
look on her face, as though the problem kA 
life and the world, had driven her into a 
corner at last and been too much for her. 
The jaunty imperiousness of the? past few 
weeks had vanished, dropped ofl her like a 
veil ; she was haggard and withered and 
shrivelled. Her eyes glittered feverishly, 
gleaming every now and then on Mrs. Quin 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE1" 169 

in a malice such as is horrid in old a^e, 
but generally wandering vaguely, hither and 
thither. Suddenly they were again suffused 
with tears, and, leaning back, she buried her 
face in the cushions and sobbed unre- 
strainedly, as though she must either cry or 
choke. 

" Ah ! ' she said presently, in a hoarse 
whisper, " you don't know how I sinned, 
how domineering and hard I was. But I 
have been punished ; all these years remorse 
has gnawed me. God knows how I've 
been punished to the uttermost, for He did 
it. ' Vengeance is mine ; I will repay, saith 
the Lord.' When can they be here ? If 
we'd stayed at Coombe, he could have come 
to-day. Sibbert, open the jalousies, never 
mind the heat. Caroline, why don't you 
soeak ? What's the use of sitting there like 
a block ? You'd better go away." 

To the surprise of them all, Mrs. Ouin 
rose. Sibbert had opened the jalousies, and 



170 JULIET. 

the light seemed to dazzle her. She got up 
slowly, and stood a moment gathering the 
sweeping drapery she always wore, in part 
over one arm. She was perfectly calm, pale, 
and tearless ; but there was a look on her 
face of intense passion, distorting in its re- 
pression. As she moved, her fan, that had 
become entangled in the fringe of her mantle, 
loosened and fell. Juliet went forward, and 
picked it up, holding it out to her ; but, 
instead of taking it, Mrs. Ouin suddenlv 
raised her hand and struck Juliet a sharp, 
stinging blow, without change of expression 
or attitude. The fan dropped again, and lay 
this time where it dropped. Mrs. Quin 
walked over it, and Juliet stood transfixed, 
w T ith tino^lincr finders and burning foce. She 
watched the door close, before she found 
power to move. Then Sibbert came up, 
officiously. 

" She's mad/' she said ; "don't lay aught 
by it, miss ? " 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE .?" 17 r 

" Poor woman ! " Juliet said softly, look- 
ing down at her hand. " I daresay it would 
be a relief. She is overwhelmed." 

This was a merciful construction to put 
upon such an act by such a woman. There 
could be no doubt that Mrs. Quin was over- 
whelmed ; but they all were. In each, how- 
ever, it took a different form, making Mrs. 
Mompesson hysterically garrulous, and gene- 
rating in her an extraordinary spitefulness 
against the innocent, upon whom her sin 
seemed likely to fall most heavily. She 
seemed to think there was a conspiracy 
against Richard's son, a man whom she had 
never seen, and against whom she might 
take one of the violent prejudices common 
to an ill-balanced, impulsive character ; and 
that every one would do all in their power to 
defraud him of his rights. She never for a 
moment doubted that he was Richard's son 
— none of them did that ; Ouin's closest 
questioning of Juliet stamped the affair more 



172 JULIET. 

and more forcibly with the calmness of simple 
facts, and her tendency being invariably that 
of subserviency to the ruling- powers, she at 
once arrayed herself on the side of the grand- 
son who was a stranger to her, to the dis- 
paragement of others whom she had known 
all their lives. It was a long time before 
Juliet could soothe her sufficiently to per- 
suade her to be undressed and go to bed. 
She talked incessantly, without realizing 
what she said. 

" There are those mosaics for Bel," she 
said once ; " she must be satisfied with them. 
I am elad I £0t them. She can't have every- 
thing ; " as though the possession of a set of 
mosaic trinkets, secured Isabel from want or 
poverty for the rest of her life. " Henry 
must choose a farm where they can live. 
Perhaps he may be Richard's agent, or bailiff, 
or something 1 . Poor Caroline!' she said, 
and laughed again. The only amusing aspect 
of the case, in her opinion, was that in which 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE ?" 173 



Mrs. Ouin figured ; whereas in Juliet's that 
was the most tragic. 

Juliet encouraged her to talk, did not 
perplex her more, by correcting her when she 
went wrone in Christian names, and grradu- 
ally contrived to make her realize the sort 
of man Brunskill was. But it was impos- 
sible that she should sleep before she was 
wearied out ; and equally impossible that 
this should not presently occur. 

The others were totally different. Mrs. 
Ouin had scarcely yet spoken a word ; Ouin 
was restless, subdued, and filled with yearn- 
ing thoughts of yet unconscious Isabel ; Lily 
was simply bewildered. Juliet moved among 
them all, as a sort of mediator to whom they 
could refer for the information and corrobo- 
ration which became hourly more confusing, 
as they realized the manner of man Brunskill 
must be ; and Ouin ransacked his memory 
for the various incidents of their conversa- 
tions and correspondence' over Ormrod. Of 



174 JULIET. 

course, he had treated him indifferently and 
cavalierly, merely as a village schoolmaster ; 
and that he should all the time have pos- 
sessed such an advantage over him as know- 
ledge — apart from circumstances — gave, was 
amazing to the point of exasperation. He 
could not help laughing ; but he was also 
angry. These two phases of his mood, 
however, were only on the surface, and hid 
a tide of feeling too deep for anything but 
silence and reflection. Great issues were at 
stake. He would not have cared had they 
been likely to affect himself. But they were 
not ; they were to affect one nearer and 
dearer than even himself; and, however brave 
Bel might be, it would be a trial to see this 
interloper take her husband's place and push 
them into the background. He could not 
believe Juliet's assertion that Brunskill would 
not want Coombe. Such a thing was against 
human nature. And yet how much, also, 
against human nature in its ordinary aspect, 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 175 

had been his long and determined reserve, 
not now penetrated by his own act, but by 
chance ! Quin found it impossible to realize 
that this man, whom he had heretofore met 
in the midst of village children in a comfort- 
less schoolroom, was his nephew, and heir to 
the great Coombe property. He felt humili- 
ated when he thought of it, not because his 
orders and advice must have been considered 
through the medium of thin and piquant sar- 
casm, but because such unobtrusive content- 
ment with unobtrusive circumstances clearly 
pointed to something above the ordinary 
type of his fellow-creatures and himself. 
Juliet seemed to fathom all this. She could 
sympathize most fully with Quin ; his view 
of the emergency was the least self-interested 
and the most unembittered, and he was rea- 
sonable, and shirked nothing. 

11 Don't you think it very extraordinary?" 
he said once, when he glanced from behind 
Galignani and found himself alone with her. 



176 JULIET. 

" Doesn't it seem amazing, even to you, that 

he should have been content to bury himself 
and claim nothing ? ' 

" No, it is not extraordinary to me," 
Juliet said. " I knew him years ago, and 
always had an intuition that he was more 
than he seemed to be, and also one of 
the finest men I should ever meet. It was 
only intuition then ; now it is knowledge. 
He has all his life, from a mere boy, been 
influenced by two passions — if one can call 
anything in him a passion ; he is too calm, 
and resolved, and self-reliant for so unruly a 
word. In the first place, he idolized his 
mother ; in the second place, he idolizes the 
only woman he would marry, and all the 
more because she did not think of him, and 
has had troubles, and has exercised his pati- 
ence. He has been content to be near her 
all these years, first believing, then despair- 
ing, then hoping. If she had rewarded all 
this faith, and patience, and loyal friendship, 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 177 



he would, for her sake, have made himself 
known to you and claimed part of his own. 
That part would be the Dower-house ; it 
never will be Coombe. Had he wanted 
Coombe, nothing would have deterred him 
from taking it fifteen years ago, or more. I 
don't wonder that you can't understand him. 
He is unusual, is he not ?" 

14 And this orirl. What will she do 
now r 

" I think I know what he will do," Juliet 
said. 

" Ah ! do you ? It seems to me he has 
thought of himself before us." 

" I think there must have been some 
misfortune connected with his mother's life, 
that he should have shunned you. He has 
shunned you all, perhaps, where a different 
man might have worked avengefully. But 
you will soon know more than I." 

" Supposing he should not come ? ' 

11 Oh, he will. His own affairs were near- 

VOL. III. 12 



178 JULIET. 

ing a climax ; he would soon have been 
marrying, and that under his own name." 

" And what is his taste in a wife ? ' 

" She is a dales-girl, her father was a 
farmer, her mother a curate's daughter. She 
has lived with her uncle at Alderdale Grange, 
but he is now dead, and Miss Gliddon has 
taken her to the Vicarage. He fell in love 
with her when she was really a mere child ; 
then she was his pupil, and will certainly end 
by being his wife. She is likely to be a very 
happy woman, and he will never choose a 
position above what she could well adorn. 
She and the Dower-house will adorn each 
other." 

" I must say all this sounds more consis- 
tent with reason, than any, but himself, would 
exemplify." 

" You will not be sarcastic, when vou are 
face to face with him." 

" I am not sarcastic now. but so much 
sense in one man, takes one's breath. He 



"WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 179 

evidently feels that power to will and to do, 
not only with his property but his principles,, 
lies in a nutshell, and that is not what every 
one does," said Ouin. 

Meanwhile, Brunskill had got the tele- 
gram, though, in consequence of the regular 
telegraph service not being organized beyond 
Newbridge, it reached him some hours later 
than it might otherwise have done. He was 
in school, and standing before the black- 
board for a geography lesson, with his eldest 
class, when the door opened, and a lad 
walked in, holding the momentous yellow 
envelope well out before him, as though it 
contained an explosive chemical. 

" It's yourn, frev beyont t'watter," said 
the lad, pushing it into his hand, and then 
standing agape and agog, for the result. 

Brunskill took it without, for a moment, 
realizing what he had to deal with. It was 
the first time in his life that- he had received 
a telegram, or fingered one of these yellow 



i So JULIET. 

envelopes ; and he turned it over, puzzled by 
its official aspect, that was, however, some- 
thing different to a school inspection paper, 
or report. 

" It's a wire message," said the lad. " It's 
run by the rails all frev over t'watter, they 
said at Newbrig ; but, my certie, it's beyont 
me, how t'rails come over t'watter, eh, 
Master I " 

Brunskill knew it was a cablegram, and 
tore it open, thinking of Doctor Thorns. 
What he read, first bewildered, then amazed, 
and transfixed him. He stood motionless, 
his eyes glued to the page, his face growing 
white, his thoughts strained to an intoler- 
able tension, as he read the curt, pregnant 
words, again and a^ain. It was from Oliver 
Ouin, Hotel F , Genoa. 

"All is known. Conic at once. Bring 
papers and proofs. " 

That was what it said ; but it seemed to 
him to say so much more, that he turned 



"WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 181 

dizzy, and faint, and in walking to his chair, 
almost fell. He sent a child for a glass of 
water, and sat, his elbow on the desk, his 
head on his hand, still regarding the simple 
missive. After a few moments, he rose, and 
continued his work. When the clock struck 
twelve, he went to the door, and holding it 
open, shook each boy and girl by the hand, 
as they passed him. It was half-holiday, 
and there was no need to generate more sur- 
prise and speculation, than many of them 
were already indul^in^in, bv telling them not 
to come again to school that day. He would 
thus get quietly away before it was generally 
known that he was going, and Mr. Gliddon 
would have time to appoint a temporary sub- 
stitute. All this he had quickly arranged in 
his own mind, before he had realized what 
his present position involved, and what he 
meant to do, and leave undone, before he 
started on his journey. There had never 
been a moment's hesitation, as to whether he 



1 82 JVLIET. 

would go, or would not go. His mind leapt 
instantly to ways and means. A train left 
Newbridge at five p.m. ; it would take an 
hour to drive and meet it. He unlocked his 
escritoire, and took out a roll of papers, and a 
bundle of letters, adding to these, one or two 
books, in which was inscribed his mother's 
maiden name, a watch, and a signet ring, 
engraved with the initials R. M. But when 
it came to the question of packing, he sud- 
denly remembered he had nothing in which 
to pack all necessary for so long a journey, 
and a visit of uncertain length ; his travelling 
bag would not hold one quarter of what he 
had to take, and as there was no possibility 
of getting anything larger, nearer than Leeds, 
there w r as nothing for it but to borrow of 
Mr. Gliddon. He must also borrow money 
of Mr. Gliddon. He prepared all as far as 
possible, then went out. 

He was, going to the Vicarage. During 
the mile's walk, he had time to adjust his 



"WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" i8* 



.> 



intentions, and strengthen his resolutions. 
From the first moment in which he recovered 
himself from the first shock of surprise, he 
had resolved to put his fortune to the test, 
and ask Molly to be his wife before she 
should know his true position, and changed 
circumstances. And this, not because he 
feared they might bias her to accept him, but 
because he felt, that in spite of the know- 
ledge of years, this great thing would veil 
him in strangeness for a time, to her, and 
it would be best that that should wear off 
while distance held them apart from speech, 
and drew them nearer in constant delicate 
glamour of thought. 

His heart was full of her, throughout that 
walk, and beat strongly with hope, and more 
than hope — confidence. He was amazed 
by his own sudden confidence ; whereas he 
had heretofore waited and watched, hoped 
and feared ; he had now sprung to assurance^ 
and walked hand-in-hand 'with certitude. It 



>8 4 JULIET. 

was no longer a question of what he should 
do, but of how he should do it ; not of what 
he should accomplish, but of how she would 
help him to the great end, by glance and 
word. He became lost in a dream of hap- 
piest fulfilment. That morning he had 
awoke, wondering when he would dare to 
put forth his hand and gather the fruit 
which he had tended from bud to flower, 
and flower to ripeness. He had seen so 
much of her since she came to the Vicarage, 
that he could not but feel that the power 
and courage would be his some day ; but 
only that morning, the some day had seemed 
remote. He wished to win her slowly and 
surely, to make her feel that it was ruled 
that she should want him, and he her, to 
complete their happiness in the world. And 
now, at one touch, the question of power and 
courage had dwindled, shrivelled into dust, 
and he felt in every pulse and fibre of him 
that the hour was come, and held success. 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 185 

He could scarcely believe it. He had pleased 
himself lately by thinking that in Spring he 
should win her. Poets and philosophers, 
throughout the ages, have deemed it natural 
and lovely for one human heart to turn to 
another in Spring, when the air is vocal with 
mating birds, and Earth awakes and dons a 
wealth of flowers in hedgerows and flushing 
woods, and young life stirs in buds and 
leaves and blades, and beneath soft, downy 
mother-breasts, in nested ecstasy of antici- 
pation ; but it seemed to Brunskill, to-day, 
that the love that fulfilled itself in Autumn 
was the sweeter love, for his heart seemed 
to be sharing earth's mellowness, and reap- 
ing tenderest certainties from its earnest 
fulfilment of tender promise. The sky had 
never seemed so blue, the clouds so ready 
to the breeze, the hills so stedfast, the whole 
fair valley, with its amethystine distances, so 
peacefully removed from fret and jar, sin and 
sorrow, as to-day, when he stood a moment 



1 86 JULIET. 

with his hand on the garden gate at the 
Vicarage, and looked at them with the new 
feeling of vivid regret at the necessity for 
leaving them, merging into satisfaction that 
the one love-dream of his life was there and 
then to complete itself. There was the 
church on the promontory that stretched 
out into the meeting of the valleys ; and the 
churchyard, where he had told Laybourne, 
years ago, that he should be content to lie. 
He would not lie there now ; he was aroint 
to his own home, his own people, his own 
name — to identify himself fully with them, to 
live and die apart from Wherndale. But the 
best years of his life had completed them- 
selves among these moors and hills and 
valleys, and he was a man to whom loss was 
sacred, and relinquishment, discipline. 

As he reached the door, Miss Gliddon 
came out, armed with gardening scissors and 
pruning-knife. 

" I want to speak to you/' he said, in 



" WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 187 



answer to her exclamation of welcome. 
" Can you spare a few moments for me ? ' 

" An hour, if you like," she said, plung- 
ing her hands into the deep pockets of her 
apron, that were stored with sticks and mat- 
ting ; and leading the way to her favourite 
walk, on the edge of the sunk fence. 

He followed, his hands clasped behind 
him, his eyes bent on the ground, and in five 
minutes he had laid the facts of the case 
plainly before her. She stood and looked 
at him. 

" This seems more natural," she said, 
slowly. 

" What ! ' he asked, adrift in his instinc- 
tive humility. 

11 That you should be a Mompesson ; but 
it is a serious difference." 

" Not to me. I have known all so Ion or 
Neither need it be to any one who has cared 
about me as I have been. You, for instance." 

His tone was not so confident as his 



1 88 JULIET. 

words, and involuntarily merged into interro- 
gation, becoming wistful and slightly eager ; 
and he looked at her scrutinizingly. 

" Surely it will not make me into a 
stranger with — any of you ? ' he added, 
hastily. 

" Then you want her still ? ' 

" Want her ! Good God ! of course 1 
do," he exclaimed, vehemently. " You don't 
understand. X^on't you know that if this 
had not transpired previously to my winning 
her promise, it would then have transpired 
at once, in justice to her. If it had been 
known who I was, I could not have gone 
on living here in this position ; I should 
have had lo leave her. That would have 
been intolerable. It would be nothing to 
me to have the Dower-house, if she would 
not help me to make it home. Do you 



see r 



14 She is in the drawing-room ; go to her," 
Miss Gliddon said in a husky voice ; and he- 



"WILL YOU BE MY WIFEV* 189 



saw that there were tears in her eyes, and 
went away, marvelling. 

His course of action seemed to himself per- 
fectly natural— the only course which any man 
could have taken. As for Ursula Gliddon, 
she watched him cross the grass and vanish 
within the house ; and then she turned 
abruptly, and, pressing her hands over her 
eves, had a short, sharp cry for sheer grati- 
tude at this revelation of the hidden morali- 
ties of a much-abused world. 

Brunskill found Molly in the drawing- 
room ; she was writing a letter for Miss 
Gliddon. As he opened the door, she looked 
up ; but he was not looking at her, and her 
eyes fell again. He closed the door care- 
fully, and slowly walked up to the mantel- 
piece, where he stood a moment, holding one 
elbow in the other palm. His heart beat 
so loud he thought she must hear it ; the 
colour had mounted to his face ; his eyes had 
suddenly become luminous with a great ten- 



i 9 o JULIET. 

derness ; he could not trust his voice to 
speech. The silence was so strange in its 
suspension of all action, so deep and hushed, 
that Molly's pen ceased its travelling 
across the page, and she sat, with downbent 
head, waiting for she knew not what. Still 
it lasted. She held her breath, then sighed 
and looked up again. This time their eyes 
met, and his held hers. She began to 
tremble. 

Then Brunskill walked up to the table, 
and stood above her. 

She was very still ; but slowly again 
her eyes fell, the pen dropped from her 
hands, and she leant forward as though she 
would hide her face from his searching 
tenderness. 

" Molly," he said, " I am going away." 

He did not mean the announcement to 
affect her, and it did not. He was testing 
his voice more than anything else. Both 
knew that far more than coming and going 



"WILL YOU BE MY WIFE?" 191 



was now at stake. She knew that he had 
come to tell her more than that. 

" Will you be my wife, Molly ? " he said 
the next moment, and his voice was as low as 
a whisper. 

She sat motionless. But his heart did 
not fail him. On the contrary, he grew 
bolder, and drawing a step nearer, placed his 
hand lightly on her head. 

" Look up, my darling," he said, bending 
over her. 

She looked up, and then suddenly she 
pushed back her chair and rose, holding out 
her hands, her face flushed, her eyes giving 
again what his gave, the whole of her stirred 
into truest self-surrender. 

He took her hands, feeling that hands 
and heart were for ever his own, thenceforth. 







CHAPTER VII. 

FACTS AND FIGURES. 

That night, Mrs. Mompesson was seized 
with paralysis, and lay for a few hours 
between life and death. Then the bad 
symptoms somewhat abated, and anxiety 
gave place to reasonable hope of recovery. 
The crisis, however, roused Mrs. Ouin from 
her torpor of brooding passion and resent- 
ment, and she descended from the unap- 
proachable heights of her silence to impress 
upon every one that she had foretold a catas- 
trophe of this kind if Mrs. Mompesson did 
insist upon coming so far from home ; it was 
natural that at her great age illness should 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 193 



overtake her. But while constantly harping 
upon the results, she ignored the cause, and 
did not name Brunskill or Henry Mompesson 
even to her husband. He made no attempt 
to break down this reserve, knowing well 
that he would only be met by bitterest anger 
and irrational upbraiding, since her grief was 
as certainly founded upon wounded pride, 
as was his upon affection for Isabel. Thus, 
their thoughts were most constantly busy 
upon what their lips most tenaciously with- 
held, and the social atmosphere grew propor- 
tionately heavy. 

Juliet had now told Ormrod what had 
happened and was still to happen. Her first 
hint of the situation passed unnoticed ; he 
had not been in the habit of paying so much 
attention to other people's affairs as to his 
own, and had thought nothing of the vague 
rumours that now and then stirred idly in 
Moorhead, when the Ouins came down to 
Church House, and Henry and Lily Mom- 



VOL. III. I 



.i 



194 JULIET. 

pesson sometimes came with them as com- 
panions for Isabel. Neither did he perceive 
any sequence when she named Brunskill. 
His mood was dreamy and inert, thanks 
to the languor of a glorious October under 
sunny Italian skies. 

" And what has Brunskill to do with 
these dumps, into which you all seem to be 
sinking ? " he asked, lazily twisting his mous- 
tache. They were sitting in the gardens 
adjoining the Hotel. Juliet's lustrous eyes 
were shining in the shadow of a parasol 
which she was twirling on her shoulder; in 
her lap was a bunch of roses ; he was leaning 
back, with one arm thrown along the seat 
behind her. Around them was shaven turf, 
and orange-trees, laden with fruit, hiding a 
trickling fountain ; and at the end of a sunlit 
vista of yellowing acacias, the statue of an 
Oread, bent on its pedestal, as though listen- 
ing to the amorous whispers of the fragrant 
air and quivering leaves. 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 195 

" He is coming- out, of course," Juliet said, 
herself dreamy, too. 

"What in the world brings him? Is 
he going to dig in a second Monte 
Christo ? " 

" To dig nowhere, but simply to make 
himself known to his relations, conveniences 
he has been popularly supposed not to 
possess, as you know. Don't be too much 
amazed, Noll, with the news : he is a grand- 
son of Mrs. Mompesson's, the eldest grand- 
son and heir of entail." 

This was sufficient to bring him instantly 
to the perpendicular, and to make him face 
her with an incredulous stare of astonishment, 
that verged on indignation. 

" Preposterous ! ' he said. " You don't 
mean that Coombe " 

" Is his by entail ? Yes, I do. But he 
will cut off the entail and settle down 

on the property, content with something 

1 '» 
less. 



196 JULIET. 

" Good heavens ! And Molly ? He could 
not know this when he thought of marrying 
her ? " 

" He has known it the whole time he has 
lived at Moorhead." 

11 But he'll never marry her now.''" 
" Why not ? He has only been waiting 
for her love, to claim his own name. He 
would not marry her under false pretences, 
and if the truth had been known, he could 
not have gone on living as an elementary 
schoolmaster at Moorhead." 

" Do you know if they are engaged ? ' 
11 I don't think thev were, but I should 
not think he will come here, so far, and pro- 
bably for some time, without winning a pro- 
mise from her. If he take her by surprise, I 
should think she will give way, and find that 
she values him at his worth." 

" His worth is certainly great now." 
" It has always been morally great, and it 
is upon that, that he will win her." 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 19; 



" Do you mean he won't trade on his pre- 
tensions ? Such a bait would draw any girl, 
and I daresay she will not have encouraged 
him yet — it is not very long since I was 
there (Spring, you know), and she is a faith- 
ful little soul. Did I ever tell you, Juliet, 
how pretty she is grown ? She always was 
pretty, certainly, but she wears her hair cut 
now, and it curls all over her head in little, 
soft, golden-brown curls, that lie on her fore- 
head in the most bewitching rings ; and her 
eyes are lovely. I should have liked to 
paint her, or kiss her in a cousinly way, but 
there was nothing of that kind for me ; and 
yet I could swear she did not care a jot for 
anv other fellow then. I wonder if she does 
care for Brunskill now, independently of 
what he can offer her. She will have seen a 
threat deal of him since Miss Gliddon took 
her." 

11 The more she has seen of him the better 
for her," said Juliet. 



198 JULIET. 

" Yes, of course, under the circumstances ; 
still you know, I did not think she would 
have forgotten so " 

He was speaking musingly, and stroking 
his moustache with his white, filbert-nailed 
hand, and what impelled him to stop, he 
scarcely knew. Juliet had neither moved nor 
spoken, and he had not glanced at her or 
given a thought to the impression his train 
of reflection might be making upon her ; and 
yet he stopped suddenly and looked round, 
his hand dropping, his arm half withdrawing 
from its encirclement of her. But nothing 
was to be heard except the slow tinkle of the 
fountain, or seen, except the orange trees 
and golden acacias, and the slim, listening 
Oread in the distance. Yet he could have 
sworn that he had heard a voice he knew, 
speaking close at hand. 

"What is it?' Juliet asked, not curious, 
but welcoming the digression from a subject 
that was unutterably painful to her, and 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 199 

more, humiliating, when approached as he 
approached it. 

u Did you hear anything ? ' he said, still 
looking round in unfeigned uneasiness. 

" Nothing," said Juliet, without troubling 
herself to move, and after a few moments he 
re-settled himself and relapsed into contem- 
plation of the distant Oread. Scarcely, how- 
ever, had he done so, than two figures came 
slowly from the left, midway into the vista, 
crossing it, and disappearing again. They 
had been directly in his line of vision ; his 
eyes followed them at first instinctively, then 
with strained eagerness. It was fortunate 
that he had not been speaking, or he must 
have betrayed the sudden presence of some 
strong feeling, by a sudden silence. As it 
was, he sat perfectly silent, and Juliet, 
absorbed in her own thoughts, and half 
hidden from him by her parasol, did not see 
the rush of colour to his face, that quickly 
ebbed and left him ashy-pale, or the furtive 



2oo JULIET. 

cold alarm that gleamed in his eyes as he 
glanced at her, and satisfied himself that she 
was unsuspicious and ignorant of a fact of 
which he was now certain. He almost 
shivered, as he sat there in the balmy sun- 
shine, trying to collect himself and gather his 
thoughts together, and determine what to do 
for the best, in the face of this danger that 
threatened him, and might overtake him un- 
relentingly at any moment, even with Juliet 
beside him. Ah ! the danger was all the 
greater because she was there ; this was not 
what shecould save him from. Her conscience 
could not be his should this emergency arise ; 
on the contrary, he felt it must stand apart 
from his in sharpest relief of censure and 
judgment and retribution, unless — and the 
possibility of doubt flashed into his mind 
with a lightning flash of hope and respite — 
unless Evelyn Dalyrymple no longer loved 
him, and was freed from a passion, none the 
less sharp for its brevity. He, who only 



FA CTS AND FIG URES. 2 o 1 



just before, had been complacently reflecting 
on the affection of one woman for him, would 
now have given the world to know that this 
other cared nothing for him, or whether he 
were living or dead, near her, or half a con- 
tinent away. The agony of doubt and appre- 
hension, he suffered in those short minutes, was 
a Nemesis. His hope was, that it might suffice 
in expiation. But he could not know that it 
would, and meanwhile the danger was press- 
ing. He felt that if Evelyn and her com- 
panion came that way then, his wits would 
forsake him ; he should be helpless to com- 
bat any emergency, to make any attempt 
at passing off the situation with a high 
hand, at glossing over treacherous surmises 
in either woman's mind, at evading Juliet's 
single-minded frank generosity, at controlling 
Evelyn, should she again verge on loss of 
self-control. One little minute, and all might 
be undone, his carefully-constructed fabric of 
security and happiness vanish into thin air 



2 02 JULIET. 

for ever. The thought was maddening-, and 
drove him into the hottest terror, of the con- 
sequences of a sin and betrayal, which in its 
entirety he was only just realizing, now that 
requital faced him and would be acknow- 
ledged. 

"Juliet, I think we might go in — it is too 
hot," he added, as she tilted her parasol and 
looked round at him, struck by a new tone 
in his voice, a tone thin yet husky, which, in 
spite of his utmost endeavours, he had been 
unable to avoid. 

" Very well, dear," she said, readily, and 
took up her roses ; but he suddenly leant for- 
ward and enclosed her hand, roses and all, in 
his, thus tacitly compelling her to remain 
seated. 

" And yet it is very pleasant here, nothing 
could be pleasanter," he said, striving to 
determine to his own satisfaction whether 
the path taken by those two figures led, or 
did not lead, direct to the hotel. 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 203 



" Delicious ! " said Juliet. " But you look 
pale, as though you found it too hot. You 
have had your hat off half the time, foolish 
boy ! We will go in now ; I must read with 
Lily, and you can rest and skim the papers, 
only I fear you will find the atmosphere of 
our rooms, charged with electricity at present. 
Things would not have been nearly so 
awkward, had this happened at Coombe. I 
am very sorry. Doctor Thorns may come 
with Mr. Brunskill, and we shall all be 
under the same roof, a mass of incongruous 
elements, trying to every one, and not least 
so, to outsiders like you and I." 

They were crossing the grass now, having 
passed the fountain, and keeping among the 
orange trees in the opposite direction to the 
acacias, guided thus by Ormrod's unper- 
ceived manoeuvring. Juliet had stuck her 
flowers in her waistband, and was looking 
down at them serenely. 

" When are we going to the Ouesia 



2o 4 JULIET. 

Valley ? It should be this month, before the 
trees are bare," she said. " Let us go to- 
morrow, if it be like to-day. Mr. Quin wants 
Lily to walk with him until Henry and 
Isabel come, afterwards she will be more 
with me again ; and I should like us to get 
there, Noll." 

" Yes, we will go to-morrow, if you like," 
Ormrod said, hastily, with a sort of gasp ; 
for ahead of them, there just then again 
appeared, those two figures, slowly walking 
arm-in-arm towards the hotel. 

They were close to them now, and he 
easily recognized Evelyn's married sister, 
Mrs. St. Paul, in the second lady ; but 
although they walked slowly, there did not 
seem to be any necessity for it from physical 
weakness on Evelyn's part, for as he watched, 
she unlinked her arm and stooped to gather 
a sprig of heliotrope, then followed her sister 
with a light firm step. They would certainly 
reach the door long before Juliet and he, but 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 205 

they might linger in the hall, a dozen con- 
tingencies were possible — more than a dozen 
if indeed, as he now believed with deadly 
heart-sick misgivings, they were visitors at 
the same hotel as themselves, and not merely 
loiterers, like many others, through its semi- 
public gardens. 

He put his hand on Juliet's arm, and 
gently turned her round. It was as impera- 
tively necessary that they should not see her 
as himself. He must have time to rally his 
expediencies, and arm himself at all points, 
before these two came in contact ; and yet 
any moment might bring discovery. It was 
impossible that one or other member of the 
two parties should not run foul of each other 
when they were all going out and coming in 
at the same doors, every hour of the day. 
This was a position which he had never con- 
ceived possible in his wildest dreams, except 
as happening in Rome, and to Rome he had 
long ago fully determined not to return, unless 



206 JULIET. 

with Juliet as his wife. He cursed the fate 
that had sent the Dalyrymples to Genoa, 
travelling like birds of passage, when, accord- 
ing to all precedent of many years, they 
should have been stationary in or near Rome, 
to which city they were now fully acclima- 
tized. Anything more perilous than his 
present situation he could not conceive ; and 
when he recalled his last interview with 
Evelyn, there was no wonder that his heart 
sank like lead, and he refused to be com- 
forted, or to hope, where hope seemed utterly 
forlorn. He could have groaned, as he laid 
his arm on Juliet's ; but as he durst make no 
sign of mental anguish, and she was already 
regarding him wonderin^lv, he had to dis- 
semble, and take refuge in the first subterfuge 
that occurred to him. This was of a nature 
which he hailed as an inspiration, specially 
sent by Providence for his safety. 

" Don't you think it would be a capital 
thing if I got out of the way for a week or 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 207 

two ? " he said. " What should you say to 
my going a sketching tour along the Western 
Riviera ? Don't you think the Quins and 
Mompessons would consider it a delicate 
arrangement on my part, at such a moment- 
ous crisis in their family affairs, to leave them 
all en famille, and at liberty to take their 
observations of each other without a com- 
parative stranger in their midst ? It seems 
to me rather a happy idea." 

" But I am a comparative stranger, too ; 
and I should be left, and alone ! ' said Juliet, 
reasonably. 

" They don't treat you as a stranger, 
dear ; you are an old and valued friend, in 
hackneyed phrase. It seems to me the very 
thing," he urged, as reflection convinced him 
of the fact, on all the points at issue. " You 
see I don't much relish meeting Brunskill, 
either. He and I fell out by the way, 
eighteen months ago, and perhaps I was not 
too civil that night I turned up at Moorhead 



208 JULIET. 

Vicarage and found you flown ; but a touch 
of temper was certainly excusable under 
those circumstances, and he's a good-hearted 
fellow. Really though, Juliet, if you think 
about it, you'll see it stands to reason that it 
won't be pleasant for me to meet him. He's 
no longer Brunskill, but a Mompesson in full 
feather ; and he'll probably be toppy, and I 
won't stand his airs " 

" Wait until you find there are airs," 
Juliet broke in, sharply. <f As usual, you are 
thinking wholly of yourself — and that not 
to your own advantage, in my estimation. 
Brunskill will not for one moment suffer 
himself to be influenced by any recollections 
derogatory to you, when he meets you here." 

" Now I have vexed you," he said, 
caressing her hand, which she felt, at the 
instant, petulantly disposed to pull away. 
" Never mind, my darling. And, yet, be- 
cause I wouldn't for the world grieve you 
willingly, I'll confess it was a slip ; of course, 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 209 

he won't have airs. I'll promise to be more 
moral, ' an so you are minded,' if you'll pro- 
mise not to be so exacting of morality. 
You're down on a fellow so sharp, Juliet. 
You must take me as you find me ; it'll save 
us both much trouble, you know. Come 
now, don't look so solemn. Give me graci- 
ous permission to go sketching." 

" I did not think we should part again so 
soon," she said, wistfully. 

" That is it, is it ? ' he rejoined lightly, 
and with evident relief. " You are thinking 
of the Quesia Valley, et cetera ; but we will 
manage that before I go. Yes we will, I 
vow," he added, as though to himself. 
" Brunskill can't be here to-morrow ; and if 
the yacht arrives, well, the situation won't 
then be at its most melodramatic stage. As 
for other things, they may go—to the devil ! " 
he said hoarsely, under his breath, and stood 
still with his hands on her shoulders, looking 
down into the deeps of her eyes with a 

VOL. III. 14 



2:o JULIET. 

scorching scrutiny that amazed and terrified 
her, shaking her out of her serenity, and dis- 
gust, and indignation, that had all been more 
or less fictitious, and rousing her to nameless 
dread and ice-cold misgiving. 

"What other things ? " she asked, faintly, 
electrified by his passionate gaze, whose 
stormy love quelled immediate fear, and yet 
did not soothe the tumult of speculation to 
which her brain had at once leapt. She was 
drooping under his touch, which, involun- 
tarily, and unknown to himself, had strength- 
ened into a grasp of iron that seemed to bear 
her down into the ground ; and suddenly, as 
though unconscious of his actions and regard- 
less of time and place and propriety, he put 
his arms round her, pressed her to him, and 
rained kisses upon her lips and brow and 
hair. She was powerless to resist, over- 
whelmed by the vehement reckless abandon- 
ment of the utterly unexpected action ; and 
when at last he released her, withdrawing 



FA CTS A ND FIG URES. 2 1 1 

from her, a face pale to the very lips, and 
with eyes dimmed by his momentary frenzy 
of possession, she could only stand and gaze 
at him helplessly and reproachfully, as one 
who had been taken unawares and swept 
along- in a current too strong to stem, too 
bewildering to realize, but whose relentless 
force had been tinctured with a pain that yet 
was exquisite, and had thrilled her nature to 
its very depths. 

After this, it was not possible that more 
could be said on any subject on which they 
were not perfectly agreed, and they went on 
to a little gate that opened on the street, 
some distance from the side of the hotel, to 
which they had previously walked. This an- 
swered Ormrod's purpose admirably. It was 
easy to frame an excuse for leaving her and 
going down into the town, without seeming 
either discourteous or unkind ; when she was 
so near home. He murmured something- 
inarticulate, pressed her hand violently, and, 



212 JULIET. 

with another burning glance, left her, walk- 
ing hurriedly towards a corner of the street 
which he must turn. There he stood an 
instant, looked back, and, seeing her still 
standing, waved his hand from the lips. She 
raised her hand in answer, then went on, and 
soon was safe and quiet in the careful cool- 
ness of her own room, utterly unconscious 
that only two walls separated her from 
Evelyn Dalyrymple, the cause of his un- 
wonted, bewildering agitation, and of her ex- 
hausting tremor of confused, half-frightened, 
delicious rapture. 

She did not see him again that day. He 
did not join their dinner ; and, on questioning 
Carl, she found he had not been in to table- 
dJwte either. But there was nothing unusual 
in this ; his movements often being erratic, 
and his evenings sometimes spent with an 
American artist, with whom he had made 
acquaintance the previous winter in Rome, 
and who had turned up here about the same 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 213 



time as he did. Probably he had gone to 
him, bent on inducing him to join his sketch- 
ing tour in the Riviera. She spent half her 
night in Mrs. Mompesson's room, Sibbert 
being worn out, and the doctor not having 
yet succeeded in procuring a nurse ; and, as 
the hours passed, giving her ample time for 
thought, she began to entertain that plan of his 
as reasonable and desirable, although it bore 
selfishness and some cowardice on the face of 
it. It would be a relief that Doctor Thorns 
and he should not meet ; and there had 
been a telegram from the Doctor to say he 
should meet Brunskill at Turin, and come 
on with him from thence. It was impossible 
that she could go away, but for the Doctors 
sake it would be better if Ormrod did. And 
he had been right in alluding to the sudden 
climax of affairs as delicate, where a stranger 
like himself must feel himself, and be felt 
by others, a supernumerary, against whose 
presence one and all would guard before 



2 14 JULIET. 

broaching such obviously private topics, in 
which he had no interest, or need have. 
She was certainly different ; all more or less 
confided in her, and relied upon her for 
information or advice. But there could be 
no doubt that, when Brunskill and Doctor 
Thorns arrived, and the yacht with its un- 
conscious occupants also reached Genoa 
from its cruise in the Levant, the ensuing 
complication could only be realized and 
adjusted by a series of explanations in which 
she could materially help, but where Ormrod 
would be useless and awkward, and, as such, 
driven elsewhere for congenial companion- 
ship. Yes, she should advise him to go, 
and more, command him. He really had 
been clever to think of it ; and it must, after 
all, be at a sacrifice of convenience and in- 
clination, for she knew he hated to move 
about with an elaborate sketching parapher- 
nalia ; and he and his friend Harvard were 
hard at work, in one studio, upon enthralling 



FA CTS AND FIG URES. 2 1 5 

subjects, of which she had been promised a 
view, when they had emerged from their 
present chrysalis obscurity. 

Her momentary misgiving over his out- 
burst of affection had, by this, entirely 
vanished ; it naturally made her happy to 
attribute it to uncontrollable joyful satisfac- 
tion in their relation to each other. She 
had seen the two figures, but had been far 
from recognizing them, as it was now some 
years since her first visit to Rome. His 
manner had been inexplicably erratic and . 
uncertain ; but then it had been a lover's 
manner throughout, and a woman in love, is 
content if there be no deviation from pre- 
cedent, in that respect. Of course, had any 
one come by, when he was holding her in 
that impassioned embrace, it would have 
made the situation unutterably awkward and 
ridiculous ; but as no one had come by, she 
could not have found it in her heart to recal 
the incident with less than trembling rapture: 



2i6 JULIET. 

He had not wanted to part from her then : 
how much less could he bear the thought of 
a longer parting ? She well knew the frenzy 
that overtakes a man at the prospect of 
separation from one in whom his soul is 
bound up ; how exaggerated becomes the 
effect in comparison to the cause ; how love 
imagines and distorts the shadow of distress, 
into a substance from which there is no 
escape. Ormrod's mode of conveying this 
impression to her, only varied from Doctor 
Thorns' and one or two others, because it 
was that of a successful lover compared with 
other less fortunate ones ; and when viewed 
in the dim silence of midnight and dawn, it 
acquired a charm of devotion which any 
woman must have welcomed and taken 
home in blissful, confident faith and trust, 
to shed a halo round her sleeping and 
waking hours in this work-a-day world, 
which is only too full of hard facts and pro- 
saic, commonplace, circumstances. He had 



FACTS AND FIGURES. 217 

not for a moment lost outward self-posses- 
sion, or allowed her to see his eyes rest 
upon those figures, who were, after all, only 
two among many to be found in the garden 
at all hours ; and it was not to be wondered 
at, that her last thought before she fell asleep, 
as the dawn broke, was of supreme thank- 
fulness that she was so loved where she 
loved again. 



CHAPTER VIII. 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 



Meanwhile Ormrod, in trying to avoid his 
Fate, rushed headlong into it. After leav- 
ing Juliet, he went down into the town, and 
thence along the western shore. He felt the 
necessity of being alone, and realizing all 
that was at stake. He must find out where 
the Dalyrymples really were, and then arrange 
his plans accordingly ; but so certain was he 
that the Dalyrymples were as close as pos- 
sible to the Quins' quarters, that his feverish 
panic of alarm and misgivings, increased at 
every step. His self-possession and assur- 
ance had completely forsaken him. He knew 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 219 

that Evelyn could bring forward no proof of 
reckless flirtation, still less of serious inten- 
tions beyond flirtation, but his conscience 
told him that the flirtation had been reckless, 
he had pushed it as far as the utmost limit 
of safety ; her friends knew how constantly 
they had been together, and that if she had 
pointedly sought him out and shown her 
preference, he had at other times taken the 
initiative, and borne down all the reluctance 
and the obstacles with which they had en- 
deavoured to guide and control her, triumph- 
antly carrying her off from their supervision, 
and encouraging her, at every point, to devote 
her affection to him, on the ground of its 
being fully reciprocated. 

As he walked, one tender episode after 
another, recurred to his mind, episodes in 
which the one direct question of wifehood, 
was alone wanting, to complete the perfection 
of relationship. He had been proud to be 
singled out by a girl to whom fascination of 



2 2o JULIET. 

the other sex came instinctively, giving her 
a command the more unique from its absence 
of physical charm ; and not only this, but 
he was also fully aware that to a great extent 
her affection had at one time been recipro- 
cated. Juliet had always maintained her sway 
over his inmost heart and best self, but she 
had retired into the background of a secure 
future, where he knew he might claim and 
possess her, and Evelyn, meanwhile, had filled 
his life with enjoyment, and pandered to a 
lower phase of his nature. It mattered little 
now, that he could only think of her with 
loathing, that the old charm was exorcised ; 
his imprudences and their effects remained, 
and if she chose to sacrifice her dignity and 
self-respect, and expose him to Juliet, he knew 
that Juliet was not one to view it in its light 
and trifling aspect. 

After his walk, in which he only came to 
the resolve to shun the hotel and get away 
as soon as possible, he went to his friend, 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 221 

Harvard, to try to persuade him to go with 
him. Harvard was naturally surprised by his 
sudden change of plan, and the desertion of 
their mutual model and subject ; and jumped 
at once to the conclusion that he was acting 
from motives ulterior to enthusiasm over 
sketching, for which, indeed, he knew he had 
no particular enthusiasm. 

" Of course this means a tiff," he said, 
tilting his chair back, and momentarily re- 
moving his meerschaum from his lips. 

" I've no one to tiff with," was the moody 
answer. 

" The fair one," suggested Harvard. 

" The indefinite article would be more to 
the purpose in this case." 

" Of course every one knows you're uni- 
versally admired and admiring, my dear 
fellow," said Harvard, smoothly. 

" Then every one knows a deuced un- 
pleasant fact," Ormrod retorted, pulling 
savagely at his moustache. 



222 JULIET. 

" It didn't strike me that you considered 
it so deuced unpleasant last winter. It 
seemed to suit you very well ; but of course 
there was not the fair one in the way, to 
enter objections to the universality of the 
thinor " 

" You stretch a point there, vwn don, and 
I wish you didn't. There's a safety in num- 
bers not to be attained when all one's ener- 
gies are devoted to one object. Naturally 
it looks as though one wanted that object, 
and would be a miserable wretch without it ; 
and it becomes awkward if the sense of want, 
merge finally entirely into the object, and 
she begin to pay back in one's own coin of 
perseverance." 

"Which means that Miss Dalyrymple is 
on your track," said Harvard, unexpectedly, 
as he touched up the drapery of his interior, 
with firm, precise, nonchalant strokes. 

"Ah ! then you've seen her?" said Orm- 
rod, relieved that the murder was out in a 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 223 

direction where it was fully known, but un- 
disguisedly nervous of more. 

" Yes. I came across her yesterday. I'd 
been at the Theatre hearing ' Lucia di Lam- 
mermoor,' and she was coming out with a 
party, largely made up of gentlemen, as usual. 
You know how quick she is. -Well, she saw 
me instantly, and signed me graciously, to 
swell the train. You can imagine how flut- 
tered I felt, until I found it was not on my 
own merits I was wanted. Her first question 
was after you, and did 1 know where you 
were r 

" Well, and did you split ?" Ormrod asked, 
in a fine tone of sneering sarcasm, which 
certainly did not conceal his anxiety and 
trepidation. He had turned from the win- 
dow, where he had been thrumming irritably 
on the pane, and stood facing his companion 
with a bearing expressive of something be- 
tween haughtiness and servility. Harvard, 
glancing at him, saw that his face was white, 



224 JULIET. 

his lips set, his eyes haggard and restless, 
and began to think that matters were indeed 
£oin£ hard with him. 

" No, I didn't split," he said, " but she 
suspected me. Her mind's evidently full of 
you, and she seemed to have an idea that 
you and I should not be far apart. Certainly 
she knows of no counter attraction to vour 
work except herself, and she means to be 
the only counter attraction. There's no 
doubt you're on the edge of a volcano. Do 
you know where they're staying ? ' 

" I suspect," said Ormrod, in a low 
voice. 

" Hotel F ," said Harvard, pleasantly. 

" There'll be the devil to pay if she run 
foul of me." 

" Well, but she mustn't. You mean, of 
course, that the other wouldn't stand that 
sort of thing? It isn't that you care a jot 
for E. 1)., I suppose, and would have your 
heart dichiri^ et cetera, by keeping faith with 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 125 

your Diana ; but simply that you're afraid of 
Diana's scruples running away with her 
sentiment if she found E. D. were devoted 
to you, and heard by chance, of valses ad 
libitum ; moonlight walks ditto ; fashionable 
promenades ditto ; drives, plays, ditto ; billets 
doux, cadeaux, embraces, kiss " 

" That will do ; you're putting it very 
coarsely, and if you must drag Miss Lay- 
bourne into such a discussion, give her her 
name, will you, as a mark of respect," inter- 
rupted Ormrod, hotly. 

" My dear fellow, it's because I respect 
her so immensely that I avoid her name. It's 
a coarse subject, if you were engaged to her 
before this affair." 

"Ah, but I wasn't, not outright; she 
wouldn't take me. I was on probation for 
a while." 

"And employed your time thus. Well, 

you couldn't well have been in hotter water 

before. I fear you are a very gay Lothario 
vol. in. 15 



226 JULIET. 

indeed. So you went straight home last 
spring, represented yourself as immaculate, 
and got engaged to that fine girl ; and now 
you begin to think of Nemesis. Where have 
you seen E. D. ? " 

Then Ormrod recounted his adventure of 
the morning, and hair's-breadth escape, and 
Harvard listened, knowing the emergency 
to be fully as great as he feared. Evelyn's 
anxiety had been feverish and importunate, 
and, worse than either of these, pathetic. 
Though flirting in the old way with a circle 
of adorers, it had been easy to see that the 
old spirit was not in it ; she had llagged 
now and then, and looked listless and pre- 
occupied, and Harvard had been touched by 
the look in her eyes as she fixed them on 
him, and implored him with their wistful 
depth of eagerness and soul-search, to be 
kind, and tell her what he knew. Such 
looks are more appalling in a woman one 
has been accustomed to consider frivolous. 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 227 



than in a woman who meets all life's vicissi- 
tudes with earnestness ; and though he with- 
stood the temptation to let her avenge her- 
self, and stuck loyally to his colours as 
Ormrod's friend, he had wished very heartily 
that he was not his friend, and that she might 
avenge herself, and had sworn at the devilry 
that could fill a girl's being with sickly heart- 
break, and turn aside without a pang. 
Evelyn was miserable, but she was not the 
woman to be cowed by misery ; she would 
turn, and lash with scorpion stings, and level 
derision and reproach at him, in sheer passion 
and defiance and hatred of her own har- 
rowing love, that tore her even as she strove 
to stamp it underfoot. 

" Look here, Ormrod," he said, " she's dis- 
tractingly in love." 

" Yet ? " 

" Yes, and it's a red-hot shame to have to 
say it. Those flippant girls go furthest when 
once they're off." 



228 JULIET. 

" Not always ; no one now could go fur- 
ther than Juliet." 

" Miss Laybourne. I think you're wrong 
there ; you wish to judge her by yourself, and 
you forget that her standard is higher, and 
therefore at once more rational and less pas- 
sionate than yours. She has the same 
capacity for affection in her ; but it's more 
subdued and controlled, as different as pos- 
sible from Miss Dalyrymple's or your own. 
Thus Miss Dalyrymple could go further than 
she ; she could set moralities and scruples 
and principles aside, and plunge headlong 
into self-satisfaction at the precise point 
where Miss Laybourne would recoil and 
hold her breath, and say, ' / cannot do this 
tiling ; and that not because she is a prude, 
but because she is a noble woman, who 
won't trample on another's happiness or woe 
in order to attain her own, which happens to 
lie beyond them." 

There was silence after this speech. 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 229 



Harvard had spoken seriously, and had not 
been ashamed to throw a tone of deep 
feeling and sympathetic perception into his 
voice ; and Ormrod felt suddenly, that a 
drama was in progress, and that the outsider 
was far more appreciative of its lights and 
shades, than he at least ; also that these esti- 
mates of character and the springs that 
move actions, were incomparably just and 
delicate. 

" You can imagine then, you, who fathom 
her nobility, and yet do not love her, what it 
must be to one who does, to have to face the 
bare thought of losing her," he said, slowly. 

Harvard did not at once reply. Before 
he did, he stooped to knock the ashes from 
his meerschaum, and so took his face behind 
his easel. 

" We have got into fine personalities," he 
said, " and you must forgive my saying that 
passionate love like yours is not the highest 
type of affection. I don't consider your type 



230 JULIET. 

of affection worthy of her, and I do consider 
she might do better, and risk greater chances 
of happiness. In the long run, you will jar 
upon her." 

" Then possibly, for her sake, you think it 
will be a good thing for Evelyn to knock up 
against me ?" said Ormrod, jeeringly. 

" Ouite the reverse. It would be a catas- 
trophe, and bring fruitless pain upon every 
one, since you would never marry her, if 
matters went amiss and you lost the 
other." 

" No, by Heaven! But it begins to look 
as though matters w r ere fated to <^o amiss. I 
know I am not worthy of Juliet." 

" It is a good thing you do know it, for 
thou art not, thou frail man! Well, then, 

don't go up to Hotel F in daylight, keep 

snug, and get away to-morrow. Of course 
the D.s and M.s will come across each 
other ; but it won't even much matter if 
Miss Laybourne and Evelyn go in an arm- 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 231 



and-arm tete-a-tete, so long as you're not in 
the vicinity. You are the spark to set the 
whole train alight. Then marry quickly, 
and, for God's sake and hers, walk straight, 
and keep your eyes for your wife only, after 
that, man ! You've terribly roving eyes 
where women go, and your tastes tally with 
them." 

As Harvard spoke, impetuously, but 
with heart-felt earnestness, he walked up 
to Ormrod and wrung his hand. 

" You must be in love with her yourself," 
said Ormrod, with an awkward half laugh, 
but far too full of fear and misgiving to resent 
the lecture. 

" No. If I were, I should have no 
sense left, for these pros and cons over 
others." said Harvard. And he spoke 
truth. 

Ormrod had, after all, to make preparations 
for solitary departure, not being able to per- 
suade Harvard to accompany him. 



2 32 JULIET. 

u I have no sins of this kind to expiate," 
said he, painting serenely, and so declined to 
move, to Ormrod's unfeigned disgust. 

The next morning he was out early, before 
Juliet, after her night's watch, was awake, but 
left a note, asking her to meet him in the 
Quesia Valley, at a certain hour. He was 
going to get some new colours ; had ordered 
his luggage to be taken to the station, and 
did not mean to return to the hotel. He 
forgot that the Dalyrymples would be likely 
to haunt any other places, than its gardens, 
and hall, and corridors ; still more, that they 
might be out before himself; and thus it 
happened, that he walked up to Evelyn in 
Via Soziglia, and in the act of passing her so 
close as to touch her dress, was roused from 
his secret psean, and transfixed by a sudden 
joyful exclamation, and an eagerly out- 
stretched hand, barring his progress. 

" I knew you must be somewhere very 
near, when I saw Mr. Harvard," she cried. 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 233 

" And here you are. I have found you, and 
you me." 

For one moment, that seemed to himself 
an age, he kept his eyes down. The shock 
was tremendous, it took his breath, and left 
him sick and giddy ; everything spun round, 
all his blood seemed to rush to his head ; 
then it rushed back, and he lifted a colourless 
face to hers, and held out his hand involun- 
tarily, with a smile, which his frightful struggle 
with himself, could scarcely prevent from 
being absolutely craven. His first instinct 
was to glance round, and be certain that 
Juliet was not in sight. It was impossible 
that he could at once realize this misfortune — 
a few more hours and he would have been 
safe ; but now Evelyn had found him, and 
even if she had not yet seen Juliet, she would 
do, and nothing else was to be expected than 
that she would now talk to her of him, and 
betray her deep interest. He felt as though 
he were in a net, and Was only more hope- 



2-4 JULIET. 

lessly entangled by every struggle to get free. 
It was a terrible moment for both of them. 
Evelyn, with eager eyes fixed upon him, had 
realized instantly that she was the most un- 
welcome sight upon which he could have 
gazed, that he would have given worlds to 
avoid her, that she had nothing to hope for 
from him, that her life was no longer worth 
living ; and as she stood, her first joy giving 
way to heartsick dismay, her eyes grew cold 
and hard, her lips curled, and she burst into 
a short broken laugh. 

" You don't seem pleased to see me," she- 
said. 

" I am so amazed/' said Ormrod, feebly, 
yet tightening his hold on her hand. 

At all risks he must keep her quiet, lull 
her, and disarm her suspicions. 1 Ie felt, that 
could he but master himself, and rally his 
courage and self-possession, he might even 
yet. master her, by using her love as a tool 
against herself. If he succeeded in deceiving 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 235 



her, he could control her, and she would be 
powerless in his hands. Then he must hurry 
on his marriage, by every persuasion and 
representation at his command, and be clear 
once, and for ever, of these miserable fears 
and pains. The only other alternative, that 
of unshrinking honesty with both, and throw- 
ing himself on Juliet's mercy and affection, 
never occurred to him. It was not in his 
nature to be courageous at such a climax. 

" I want to speak to you. I must, and 
will," said Evelyn. 

He hesitated. It was evident that she 
meant him to go away with her from the 
crowded thoroughfare, where they were jostled 
and crushed, and he did not relish the idea of 
a long, and probably recriminative, interview. 

" My sister and her husband are in this 
shop," she said, goaded by his hesitation, 
V and if you won't do as I demand, I will call 
them, and explain matters " 

"My dear Miss Dalyrymple, what mat- 



236 JULIET. 

ters arc there to explain ? ' he interrupted. 
" Certainly, if you wish to explain any mis- 
take that may have arisen, I am quite ready 
to listen. But I have not much time on 
hand. I am preparing- for a journey." 

He found that he had to go a long way 
with her. She meant to be quiet and unin- 
terrupted. There was a force and energy 
about her, which took him by surprise ; she 
seemed to be in perfect health, and to have 
lost her old liability to fatigue. How could 
he know that she had not walked in this way 
for months, and was only now enabled to do 
so by the false strength of hysterical excite- 
ment, that was far more dangerous than twice 
the amount of ordinary fatigue ? He walked 
at her side through the hot streets, and stole 
furtive glances at her, considering- her, and 
her claims to consideration, with the most 
cold-blooded deliberation. She was passable, 
he decided ; her figure was not bad, except for 
the stoop from her shoulders. She was care- 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 237 



fully dressed, and wore a red velvet toque, 
that eave her hair, auburn tints in the sun- 
shine ; and though she seemed so much 
stronger, her face had gained in delicacy and 
her eyes in brightness. Indeed, they were 
doing so momentarily, as her sense of un- 
wonted exertion increased. They were toil- 
ing upwards ; she was leading him through 
short cuts, and stifling alleys, and it suddenly 
flashed upon him that she was making 

straight for the Hotel F . This was an 

appalling thought, involving numberless pos- 
sibilities. Had she already seen Juliet, and 
was she cognisant of the true state of the 
case, and meaning to have her revenge effec- 
tually ? But if not, and they were to go into 
the gardens, Juliet herself might be there, 
and meet them ; or Quin might be smoking, 
with Lily as his companion. Did she know 
that they were there, and had she known that 
he was ? Yet he dare not propose that they 
should go elsewhere, for that would at once 



233 JULIET. 

betray that he knew where they were going, 
had known where she was, and had some- 
thing to avoid. And thus, in silence, they 
pursued their way. He was too deeply 
sunk in thought, to talk on general matters, 
and too conscious that this would be his only 
opportunity for rallying his self-confidence 
and mustering all his resources ; and she was 
too angry, too miserable, too breathless, to 
utter a word. At last they reached the 
corner from which, only a few hours before, 
he had waved a kiss to Juliet. As they 
turned it, Evelyn stopped suddenly, pressing 
her hand to her side and panting for breath, 
her face becoming ghastly from pain and 
laboured breathing. He thought she was 
going to faint or fall, and rushed to support 
her. She leaned against him for a few 
moments, until the paroxysm passed, and 
grave her command over herself again ; then 
raised her head and looked at him. 

11 I am not strong, you see," she said, in 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 239 



a low voice ; " we have walked too fast. Will 
you let me take your arm ? ' 

He assented, even eagerly, The old fear 
had overtaken him, of her breaking a blood- 
vessel under his eyes in an agitation that 
would be attributed to his influence, and 
though he wished her out of the way, he did 
not wish such a catastrophe to occur with him. 
His relief was therefore great when she 
recovered strength to speak and move ; and 
he would have welcomed any suggestion. 
This was natural enough, and involved no 
new danger. In a moment they were going 
slowly on, and he was becoming peculiarly 
conscious of the new sensation with which 
the light touch of her hand infected him. 
They were again silent, but both knew that 
this was a different silence. She was feeling 
to a certain extent satisfied, and he was 
in some subtle, indefinable way, soothed. 
More than soothed, he would not admit him- 
self, but she knew well the power that the 



2 4 o JULIET. 

lightest woman's touch can exert on a sus- 
ceptible temperament like his, and this power 
of contact, over his lower nature, was all from 
which she could now hope for personal suc- 
cess. 

In this way they reached the little gate 
where Ormrod had parted from Juliet, and 
as they passed through, his one thought was 
that their windows did not look this way, and 
that by going to the limits of the gardens, 
where they merged into the vineyards and 
chestnut woods of the hills, he should be 
secure of having Evelyn to himself. 

"We are staying here," she said, "Mr. 
St. Paul, Thirza, and I." 

" I should think it is charming," he said, 
looking round and perceiving in the distance 
the seat where he had sat with Juliet, and in 
front, the avenue of acacias which they were 
about to cross, as Evelyn and her sister had 
crossed it before. Yet it did not seem to him 
at the moment, that the irony of fate was cruel. 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 241 

And he turned as they crossed the chequered 
light and shade of the yellowing acacias, to 
look for the listening Oread. Yes, although 
it seemed a year since he had looked at her 
before, she was there, still listening. They 
went on across the turf, in and out among 
the trees, past other statues, and seats, and 
strollers, and he marvelled at his sense of 
safety, his lack of trepidation, and the dolce 
far niente impression which alone, was what 
everything gave him. He seemed to have 
come to enchanted ground, and to be lulled 
by syrens to no feeling but of perfect secu- 
rity ; yet he knew this was an old spell 
returning upon him in unabated force, a spell 
to be shunned as rendering him in part the 
tool, which it was his intention to render her. 
It created a mild surprise in him that he 
could tolerate Evelyn's proximity, that he 
was not loathing her and repulsing her, as he 
had fully expected to do ; he even seemed to 

be losing the impression of their last inter- 
vol. in. 16 



242 JULIET. 

view. Glancing at her acrain, she seemed 
now, more than passable. She had taken off 
her hat, and her hair was meshed with sun- 
shine and blowing in curly coquettish wisps 
low upon her forehead, and around the shell- 
like little ears that constituted her only claim 
to beauty. The colour in her cheeks might 
be hectic, but it was becoming ; her eyes 
were not now red and swollen with weeping, 
but soft and pathetically mournful and con- 
hdine ; and he knew the touch of her hand 
on his arm had become more clinging, and 
expressive of tender trust and dependency. 
Above all, she was perfectly self-controlled, 
and seemed to have sunk into a minor key, 
even, musical and plaintive. Her passionate 
an ire r had faded and left no trace behind it, 
no hint even of unshed tears. He could not 
associate reproach, and accusation, and re- 
crimination, with her now ; still less anticipate 
a burst of fury, and scorn, and overwhelming 
self-advocacy. This was what he called 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 243 

true- womanly, a page out of Juliet's book. 
Yes, she was certainly marvellously changed 
for the better. And what had changed her, 
what had tamed her and subdued her in this 
delightful narcotic fashion — what, but love 
for himself ? Yet it was his painful duty to 
disabuse her mind of any hope of recipro- 
cation, though just at present he did not see 
his way clearly to doing so, or in fact to 
doing anything but acting and uttering as 
many lies as the momentous exigency of the 
situation, most undeniably rendered necessary 
and excusable. 

Presently they sat down on a rustic seat 
under a chestnut, a little apart from the path 
to the hills ; and Evelyn leant back and 
fixed her eyes upon him, not eagerly, but 
with evenly-sustained interest. 1 

" Have you thought much of me all this 
time ? ' she asked, slowly. 

" Yes, a great deal," he said, leaning for- 
ward, and working in the turf with his stick. 



244 JULIET. 

" Did you get my letters ? ' 

"Yes." 

11 I should certainly have preferred that 
you should answer them, though doubt- 
less you had good reasons for not doing 
so. 

" Most excellent reasons," he said, barely 
repressing a smile at the comedy of the thing, 
which admitted of truth, though it was the 
truth of cross purposes. He had yet to 
learn that the woman's tactics may be keener 
and more piercing than the man's, driving 
with impudent recklessness straight at the 
root of the matter, and sacrificing everything 
to the determination to accomplish her own 
ends. 

" But your prospects must become more 
assured every day," said Evelyn now. still 
in the low passionless voice that disarm* d 
suspicion of the hidden forces of will and 
wish, at work within her. 

" More assured ? Certainly," he. said, 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 245 

taken by suprise, and groping after her full 
meaning without, however, grasping it. 

" I have always known you would be a 
successful man." 

"It is very good of you to have taken 
so much interest." 

" Naturally my interest increases, it is not 
likely to be a thing of the past. Each year 
will ensure you new successes and give you 
a wider range for success, for more personal 
success. It won't do to depend wholly on 
brain power, you know, for social success 
too." 

" I shall have to do that for some 

time. 

" Of course, but other ends will at least 
be in view, and I never can understand how 
a girl can be impatient, when her lover has 
to work as well as wait for her. How lone 
have you been here, and where are you 
staying ? " » 

" You would be none the wiser if I told 



246 JULIET. 

you, a poor man's quarters are unobtrusive 
and Bohemiam." 

His blood was running cold, yet the lie 
came glibly. He began to perceive her 
drift. She was taking everything as a 
matter of course which should not be taken 
so, and ignoring any other possibility than 
inclination prompted. But her calmness 
crippled him, there was nothing here which 
he could resent or expostulate against, 
nothing that made him loathe her ; yet he 
was in the anomalous position of a man 
to whom an offer of marriage is made, with- 
out affording him the option of frank refusal, 
such as is always open to a woman. Far 
from lending gracious and easy attention to 
an explanation of hers, there was before him 
a choice of two alternatives, that of accept- 
ing the position she had made for him, or of 
himself entering into an explanation such as 
he had the uncomfortable feeling that she 
was determined to misunderstand and waive 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 247 

aside, in pursuance of a deliberately arranged 
plan for his entanglement. 

" You said you were going to take a 
journey. Have you been here so long as to 
exhaust the place ? " she said. 

" Only a few days." 

11 Then why were you going away ? ' 

" I am going away to sketch." 

" Then you will stay now, and sketch 
here," she said, confidently, and without trou- 
bling to watch his expression. It was the 
best part of her tactics, to show no anxiety, 
uncertainty or uneasiness, and nothing could 
have thrown him so completely off his balance, 
as this unexpected and novel self-possession. 

fi My arrangements are complete " 

" They affect no one but yourself ; you 
•can alter them now, of course. You have 
often done so before." 

" But I am deserting such evil courses ; 
one must not follow inclination at the sacri- 
fice of duty." 



« 4 8 JULIET. 

She burst into a gay laugh, and clapped 
her hands. 

"That is a delightful speech, the most 
natural thing you have said yet ; for I have a 
suspicion you want to go, rather than stay ; 
so, by your reasoning, it becomes your duty 
to stay. Come now, you will have to yield — 
you always have done yet. Where were you 
going ? " 

" A long way, and go I must, to — to 
Ravenna." 

"It was not Ravenna," she asserted. 
" You said the first name that popped into 
your head. You were not going nearly so 
far to sketch. Your head-quarters are here, 
for Mr. Harvard told me his were, and I 
am certain you are working together again. 
Where are the Mompessons ? Lai Tatton 
wrote me they were going to travel. I 
wonder you are not altogether, they, and 
Miss Laybourne, and the Quins." 

" Do you?" he said, with a constrained 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS 249 



smile. " How long- are you going to 
stay ? " 

" Oh, I am at Thirza's orders. It suits 
me very well. Don't you think I am looking 
well ? come, you haven't said one pretty thing 
yet, and you used to be so clever, full of them." 

" You are looking so well, that you take 
my breath away. I never thought " 

11 That you would have seen me again," 
she finished, laughing, as he stopped abruptly. 
44 Ah, you have been very cruel, very heart- 
less, my death might have been at your door. 
I was very ill, after you left me that miser- 
able day in Rome. You went on the wrong 
tack, Oliver — you did indeed; things had 
gone too far for you to leave me without 
anything final, or definite. You might feel 
that your position was not yet good enough, 
or your means adequate, but I should have 
been satisfied to know I had only to wait ; 
waiting is nothing, it is suspense that kills 
one. And I have my own fortune, don't you 



250 JULIET. 

know ? my father left us all alike, and it will 
be delightful to share it. If you had spoken 
then, I would have told you, but you did not 
give me a chance. I was simply over- 
whelmed when I heard you were going. Of 
course, poor dear, it was bad for you, but not 
nearly so bad as for me ; the man goes away 
to work, and leaves the woman to suffer. 
You carried your sense of honour too far, you 
did indeed." 

Had he carried his sense of honour too 
far ? Had he wished all the while to be 
en^acred to Evelvn ; and denied himselt ? 
Had he not cared for Juliet ? Was there a 
Juliet Laybourne in the world ? Had he 
proposed to Evelyn ? Was she to be his 
wife ? Was he not very happy, quite satis- 
fied ? How much that she had said, was 
true, how much false ; and if it were all false, 
as he half suspected, did she think it was 
true ? did she believe in her own words, or was 
she acting a part, and cajoling him ? He 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS 251 

was certain of nothing. As she spoke, he 
leant forward, with down-bent head, alter- 
nately going hot and cold, shuddering and 
shrinking, bewildered and puzzled. She 
credited him with fine motives, which self- 
love forbad him to deny, even if he could 
have been certain it must be denied. But this 
he w r as not. He thought once of asking, 
" Have I proposed to you ? ' but that w r ould 
be too simple, too dependent. He did not 
think he had " spoken " — as she said, even 
now. But if he had not, what did it matter ? 
She had, and that seemed to suffice. How 
in the world was he to explain, and correct 
her false impressions, and withdraw himself ? 
She was alike impervious to insinuations, cold- 
ness, and honesty. He flattered himself he 
had been both cold and honest, ignoring the 
fact that he had simply been cowed. 

" I must be going," he said, suddenly 
starting up, stretching himself, and carefully 
smoothing his short pilot jacket, without 



252 JULIET. 

looking at her. " I have an engagement in 
half an hour, I am certain," he added doubt- 
fully, pulling out his watch. 

" Your engagement must go, then, you 
now have a better one ; I am not tired of 
you," she said lightly. " Sit down again, 
Oliver, and tell me more about yourself ; no, 
not so close," she said, edging away as he sat 
down involuntarily nearer to her ; " I am not 
going to have any love-making with that long 
face. I am not going to look at you ; you 
are quite a repulsive object. You must 
brighten up, before I will let you touch 
me. 

11 Love-making," he repeated, dreamily, 
allowing his eyes to rest upon her for a 
moment. The previous minute he had had 
a wild prompting to sudden flight, to get 
away and hide himself where she could never 
find him ; but now he was arrested again by 
the careless ease of her voice. She had patted 
his arm, and looked down persuasively at the 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 253 

seat at her side, and he had sunk into it, 
certain that she wanted him there ; and now 
she was moving away from him, and forbid- 
ding him to approach. What further incentive 
was necessary to make him feel that he must 
be near her, and would touch her ; to urge 
him to the vetoed love-making, for sweet per- 
versity's sake ? He raised his hat, and 
pushed up his hair, looked round wildly, and 
heaved a deep sigh, then turned on his seat 
to face her, and, propping his elbow on his 
knee, supported his head on one hand, while 
throwing the other behind her. She was 
perfectly aware of this change of attitude, 
while seeming unconscious ; also that his eyes 
were now fixed on her, looking out strangely 
from a pale face, She was looking across 
the garden, carelessly thrumming an air upon 
each wrist with her crossed hands, knowing 
that her very carelessness would now be 
irritating, and pique him to go to great 
lengths. 



254 JULIET. 

" So I may not come near you ? " he said, 
in a tone that would have trembled had it not 
been so low and husky. 

"Not while you are in the sulks." 

" But I am not in the sulks. This is a 
very different tale to our old one in 
Rome." 

" I am deserting evil courses." 

" Oh, are you ? Then I am never to 
come near you again ?" 

" When you can behave consistently, you 
may." 

" And what is consistently ? Define it. 
How far is my license to go ? ' 

" That you must decide for yourself. 
You know the commc il faut quite as well as 
I do." 

" I know what you used to give me, 
Evelyn, and then we were not even as we 
are now ; so I suppose I may now take, as 
much at least." 

His arm was round her waist, and he was 



EVELYN, THE TEMPTRESS. 255 

close to her, his head touching her shoulder, 
his eyes full of sultry, quivering eager- 
ness, that seemed to drink hers dry. But 
although worked up to the indulgence of 
passion, he was secretly master of the situa- 
tion, conscious that he was deceiving her 
and enjoying . to the full — fruit which he 
knew to be forbidden, and before him for the 
last time. She looked back at him, and deep 
into his feverish face, then lifted her lips and 
let him kiss her, nestling more closely into 
his embrace. At that moment a shadow fell 
across the grass and rested in front of them. 
Ormrod looked up, breathless, pale, and 
dreamy ; and saw Juliet. 




CHAPTER IX. 



NEMESIS. 



In an instant Ormrod had flung Evelyn 
aside, and started up. He took a hasty 
stride forward, then fell back and buried his 
face in his hands. While he stood thus, 
there was unbroken silence. 

Evelyn sat bewildered and outraged, 
gazing helplessly at Juliet, who seemed to 
her to have sprung from the earth, and was 
evidently to Ormrod, as an avenging Spirit. 
Anything less avengeful, however, than 
Juliet's face and mien, it would have been 
impossible to imagine. She was drawn to 
her full height, and her face was ashen grey, 



NEMESIS. 257 

her expression grave to sternness ; but there 
was no avenge in these, as also there was no 
confusion. Two words were beating in her 
head — Deceit, Guilt ; and they were, the one 
and only clue, to what was and was to come. 
She had heard with her own ears, seen with 
her own eyes ; her way was straight and clear 
before her. But she waited. She wanted 
Ormrod to look at her. 

And very soon he did. 

Ah, God ! what a Paradise he felt to have 
left behind him, when he dared to look at her 
again. How safe seemed her tranquillity ; 
how satisfying her perfect self-control ; her 
lips, how sweet ; her eyes, dilated in a sad- 
ness too supreme for reproach, but not yet 
too proud for love — how good and gracious ! 
She wore one of the cool, soft dresses he had 
bidden her to wear ; it clung to her in deli- 
cate loveliness of tint and texture. He could 
smell the heliotrope at her throat. Her 

head, with its dark hair; was shadowed by 
vol. in. 17 



25 8 JULIET. 

the open parasol that rested on her shoulder. 
Nothing about her moved, she was still as a 
picture ; beautiful, refined, calm, even now, 
when she was tortured, her heart wrung with 
anguish, the fairness of her life sullied and 
ruffled. He gazed at her in an agony, his 
face drawn and haggard ; and involuntarily 
held out his hands. The whole of him was 
supplicating and imploring, penitent and 
remorseful. 

" Speak, Juliet," he said at last, unable to 
bear the silence any longer. 

" Oh, Noll ! " she said ; and he saw that 
she shuddered. 

Evelyn started. Here was a name for 
him she had never heard — a more familiar 
name than Oliver. What were these two to 
each other, or, rather, what had they been ; 
for that, they would never be again ? She 
stood between them, and she knew that 
Juliet, least of all, would overlook the 
fact. 



NEMESIS. 259 



" What do vou mean ? " she said ; " I 



am " 



Ormrod turned at the sound of her voice, 
and swore at her. 

She shrank back, appalled, cowering be- 
fore his look. It was a threatening scowl, 
and his face was livid and distorted. It 
flashed upon her that there was no rage in 
his heart, except against her ; the rest was 
love, burning, passionate, and adoring love, 
such as he never had given or would give 
her. Was she then to lose him, after 
all? 

" Juliet, forgive me ! " he said. 

" I cannot." 

" I swear before Heaven, I never will 
again yield to temptation." 

" I never can forget it." 

" If only you would forgive — I would 
respect the unforgetfulness, I would not 
expect otherwise." 

" I never could try to trust you 



26o JULIET. 

again as I have tried," she said, with pathetic 
emphasis. 

"Where were you going ? Let me go 
with you a little way," he said, eagerly. 

" I was going to Quesia Valley, there 
is a short cut ; but I have no need to go 
now." 

"No need to go now! Juliet, there is 
more need than ever, that you should go. 
I must explain, I will tell you everything. I 
have been tempted and I have fallen, but it 
is not that I don't love you. I love you to 
distraction, as I shall never, could never, love 
any one but you. My darling, you must 
believe I could not do without you, I must 
have you. It maddens me to see you stand- 
ing there with that stricken look, and to 
know I have brought it to your dear face 
by my cowardice and cupidity. Juliet, you 
must, you shall forgive me ; yes, by heaven, 
you shall ! Come away with me, where we 
can talk." 



NEMESIS. 261 



He strode forward and would have seized 
her hands, but she fell back with a gesture 
that forbade it. 

" It would be of no use my going," she 
said, incoherently ; " don't ask it of me. I 
could not endure it. Nothing is left for me 
but to leave you and never to see you 

again " 

" Never to see me again ! ' he re- 
peated, horror-struck. The thought was 
bewildering, unsupportable. Had it in- 
deed come to this ? He gazed at her 
blankly. 

" That cannot be/' he said. " I will never 
cease to prove to you, that you are the one 
woman I will have for my wife. Ah ! why 
did you come this way ? I was going to 
Ouesia Valley, but I knew of no short cut. 
I was going to you, and then would have 
got away, out of reach of temptation and 
danger." 

" Temptation, danger f Then you knew 



262 JULIET. 

Miss Dalyrymple was here; that was your 
reason for the sudden thought ? ' she said, 
quickly. 

His eyes fell. He had taken a false 
step. She had fathomed the whole arrange- 
ment, and was realizing to the full, his 
duplicity. 

" I saw her here yesterday, in these 
gardens, when you and I were together," 
he stammered, for once taking refuse in the 
truth. 

"And you were frightened of her, afraid, 
from what had passed before, that she would 
again expect your advances and attentions ? 
Well, now you have made them, it seems. 
Yott are not now, even what you were then 
— that is, in Rome. What are you now ? 
Evelyn, tell me," and she went up to Evelyn 
and, involuntarily, in her terrible earnestness* 
shook her. 

Evelyn was sobbing, her face hidden in 
her handkerchief. 



NEMESIS. 263 

" He has deceived me too," she said. 
11 Where is he staying ? " 

" Here, at Hotel F . We all are." 

11 He is a wretch," she said, with a cry of 
smothered rage and passion. " So he is 
engaged to you, Juliet, after all. He is 
cruel, base " 

" He is not engaged to me," Juliet said,, 
firmly. 

" Do you mean that you no longer love 
me ? " Ormrod demanded. 

" I no longer love you," she said, con- 
fronting him with a set face utterly devoid of 
expression. 

" But you shall again, sooner or later ; 1 
swear it." 

"Never!" she exclaimed, forcing full 
energy of scorn and determination into her 
low voice. 

"Juliet, listen to reason!' he implored, 
comino- up to her and throwing into his bear- 
ing and glance all the persuasion of which he 



264 JULIET. 

was capable. " If only you would come with 
me into the wood. We must be alone. I 

can't talk here before her, but there 

" I should not think of going anywhere 
with you, where there was not a witness," 
she interrupted, with bitter contempt. He 
laughed shortly, in the nervousness of sheer 
bravado. The truth, the utter hopelessness 
of the situation, he would not accept. She 
might scathe him, scorn him, deny him, but 
it only all goaded him to more desperate and 
stubborn resistance. Never in his life had 
he felt as he felt now. The passion that 
had overwhelmed him in Dudtord Lane, at 
Coombe, and only yesterday in these same 
gardens, was "as moonlight unto sunlight' 
compared with the wild, fierce longing that 
shook him now, when each moment its satis- 
faction was withdrawing further from his 
eager clutch. He laboured under the in- 
fatuated idea that she would yield, if only he 
could have a fair chance, get her alone, clasp 



NEMESIS. 265 



her in his arms once more, rain kisses again, 
as yesterday he had had the right to do, on 
brow and lips and hair. It was impossible 
for him to believe that now she would have 
been like a statue in his clasp ; cold, stiff, 
unyielding, with no more sign of life about 
her than perhaps a shiver ; no tremble, no 
intoxication of happiness, no glorified rapt 
face, raising itself shyly to his. But for all 
his unbelief and defiance and desperation, 
this was the truth, and he had lost all he had 
so hardly won, by one moment of detestable 
weakness. 

She was coming to him now with her 
hand held out. 

" I am going. Good-bye," she said, look- 
ing her last at him from those calm eyes that 
seemed to gaze through and beyond him, into 
the vacancy of a hopeless future. Where 
had the colour and the light and the joy of 
her face gone ? Only yesterday she had 
lived and breathed ; to-day, her face was 



266 JULIET. 

dead, set and ashen, blank as though it did 
not even hide suffering. Yet he knew she 
suffered, that her anguish was torturing her, 
gnawing at her heart-strings, devouring her, 
body and soul. She had not even shed a 
tear, her eyes burnt and glittered. 

" I have not lost you," he said, bending 
over her and enfolding her hands* in both his, 
with a grasp that was agonizing. 

"Good-bye," she repeated. 

11 I will go with you." 

" No." 

" I shall come, then." 

She did not answer. He carried her 
hand to his lips. She was perfectly passive, 
and seemed scarcely conscious of the pas- 
sionate kisses that he was pressing on to it. 
When at last he dropped it, she turned and. 
walking slowly, disappeared in a few moments 
anions the trees. He stood watching; her 
with his arms folded, assuring himself it was 
only a matter of waiting ; in months or years 



NEMESIS. 267 

he would win her yet, and then — keep her. 
He did not give a thought to Evelyn, sitting 
behind him in silent fury of hatred and 
jealousy ; and she did not attempt to detain 
him, when he suddenly wheeled round and, 
without glancing at her, brushed past her 
and plunged into the wood. 

Meanwhile Juliet had reached the hotel. 
Instinct took her there, for she had no con- 
sciousness of where she was going. Two or 
three people met her, and turned to stare 
after they had passed her ; the look on her 
face, the rigidity of her tall figure, could not 
but convey the impression of some terrible 
blow, some shock that had half paralyzed her, 
soul and body. It can scarcely be said that 
she had any feeling. She walked like a 
somnambulist, and was benumbed. Every- 
thing that had happened was clear in her 
own mind — from the frightful mortal coldness 
that had seized her when in crossing the 



268 JULIET. 

grass, with light heart and light steps, she 
looked up suddenly, and saw the two sitting 
on the bench just before her, and heard the 
significant words that were sealed by the 
still more significant kiss ; to the last moment 
before she turned away from him for ever. 
Her one fixed idea throughout it all, had 
been to make him feel that it was final. No 
importunity could affect her now, she would 
never yield again to any vehement pleading 
or appeal, her heart was steeled against him ; 
only, if she were still to see or hear him, she 
thought her heart would break. She won- 
dered she did not hate him, she wished she 
could ; but it was not in her that love could 
so soon curdle into hatred, and the wish was 
vain, for it was not wounded pride that she 
had to battle against, but wounded love and 
faith and trust. She knew she must get 
away from here, from all association with 
him, from the possibility of meeting or even 
hearing of him ; he must be shut out of her 



NEMESIS. 269 



life, and that at once ; and actuated by this 
one idea she went in and upstairs, and threw 
open the door of their private sitting-room, 
with the intention of seeing Mrs. Quin, and 
arranging for her journey home. 

But on the threshold of the room she 
suddenly stopped, confounded by the many 
besides Mrs. Quin, who were there. She had 
forgotten that Isabel and her husband had 
arrived that mornino- that she herself had 
helped to break the news to them, and had 
been touched to tears by Isabel's sweet 
courage and the calm strength which she 
had not only shown as her own, but had been 
able to infuse into her husband, for whom 
the blow was far greater — and now there were 
others, whom at first she did not recognize. 

To her dazed eyes, the room simply 
seemed full of little knots of people, and 
at the sound of the opening door, they all 
turned and looked at her. Then there was 
a hasty exclamation, half-suppressed, and 



2-jo JULIET. 

some one came forward and put her hand on 
his arm. 

" Come and sit down," he said, bending 
solicitously ; " you are not well What is the 
matter ? " 

"The matter!" another voice, rough and 
loud, echoed ; and at the sound of it she 
awoke, a gleam of recognition lit up her 
eyes, and she stretched out her hands. Brun- 
skill stood aside, and Doctor Thorns in a 
moment had seized her hands, and was draw- 
ing her to a chair. 

" No, no, not here," she said, struggling. 
"But I want you. It is you I wanted. Come 
with me. I must tell you — something — ah ! 
something terrible." 

She was standing and leaning towards 
him, her face full of earnestness, pale and 
grief-stricken and amazed, her lips quivering, 
her eyes dilating to a blinding rush of tears. 
They all stood breathless, not only seeing 
but feeling, at once her beauty and her sor- 



NEMESIS. 271 



row. Brunskill alone turned away. Doctor 
Thorns, without a moment's hesitation, 
turned round with her, pulled the door wide 
open again, then closed it as they found 
themselves in the corridor ; and followed her 
to her own room. 

When they were alone together, Juliet in 
a few rapid words told him all, never taking 
her eyes from his face, and watching its 
varying expression with keenest anxiety, her 
voice low and gasping, her mouth trembling, 
then again settling into resolute control. At 
the end she suddenlv withdrew from him, 
standing a few paces away ; and her eyes 
dropped, her clasped hands twisted and un- 
twisted themselves nervously. 

He had not spoken, or made a single 
gesture of emotion. 

She had not the least clue to what was 
in his mind ; but she plunged on recklessly, 
into the one great point that had arrested 
her bewildered agonized thought, from the 



272 JULIET. 

moment of recognizing him, and was like a 
straw to a drowning man. 

" If you will ask me now to marry you, 
I will," she said. 

-Juliet!" 

The loudness of his voice startled her, as 
though she had been struck. She looked 
up, meeting a glance into which was crowded 
astonishment, indignation, and anger, with 
fierce desire and love shining through and 
above, and struggling to absorb them all. 
The blood rushed to her face. She felt that 
she had outraged the holiest feeling of his 
life; with irreverent touch, profaning what 
was too sacred for the light of day. Her 
heart stood still, then beat to suffocation, as 
for one moment, she thought he was turning 
his back upon her, and leaving her. She 
had risked all. There was no withdrawing. 
On the contrary, she must go on. With his 
finders touching the door-handle, he paused, 
hesitated ; and she sprang forward, seizing 



NEMESIS. 273 



what would otherwise have been a last 
moment. 

"Forgive me," she exclaimed; "I am 
wicked, I have thought only of myself; but 
you were like a god-send." 

At the first word he had turned again 
and faced her. 

" Tell me truly why you said that," he 
said. 

" I want to go away." 

" You want to go away with me, you and 
I alone together ? " 

"Alone together." 

" And could you bear it ? " 

" I could, if you could, if you would," she 
said, slowly. 

He was silent, but swung his arms oddly, 
and folded them, as though tempted to pos- 
sessive measures, which, as yet, he was 
determined to withstand. 

" I don't suppose you would ever be 

happy," he said, in a dry hard tone. 
vol. in. 18 



274 JULIET. 

. She did not answer. 
" Where should we have to live ? " he 
asked. 

" At Coombe," she said, eagerly. 

" We could travel, move about " 

" No, Coombe, the Rectory.*' 

" You would soon tire of the quiet and 
monotony." 

" No. I want it." 

" You think so now, when you want it to 
heal a broken heart." 

Juliet shivered, and turned deathly pale. 
For a moment, he thought he had defeated 
himself, and the game was lost. Then, with 
an effort, whose greatness not even his love 
could fathom, she looked up at him, and he 
saw a light in her eyes, tenderer than they 
had ever shed on him before. 

" If my heart were broken, nothing would 
matter to me any more ; but this matters," 
she said, timidly. 

" It would have to be done at once." 



NEMESIS. 275 



" What ? " 

" Sit down, and keep still," he said, 
huskily ; and when she had obeyed him, he 
went to the window, and stood some time. 
She naturally thought he was looking out. 
But he was not. His eyes were closed. 
The moment he opened them, he came back 
to her, and took her hand. 

"Juliet," he said, " 1 trust you. Will you 
trust me with your happiness for Time, and, 
through God, for Eternity ? " 

His calmness destroyed hers. She burst 
into tears. 

" You are too good to me already," she 
said. 

He bent down, touched her hair with his 
lips, then left her alone. 




CHAPTER X. 



" FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 



Before night, the whole party knew that 
Doctor Thorns was going to marry Juliet as 
soon as possible. He told Brunskill, taking 
him fully into confidence, and asking him to 
tell the others as much as was necessary. 

This Brunskill did, and answered the 
volley of questions discharged at him, to the 
best of his ability. Such an unexpected 
event occurring in their midst, and yet not 
immediately personal, was hailed by all as a 
blessed relief to the strain imposed upon 
themselves by unexpected circumstances, 
and went further than anything else could 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL? 277 



have done to dissipate their constraint with 
Brunskill. There was only one question 
which he could not answer, that of Ormrod's 
present whereabouts. Doctor Thoms had 
not seemed to consider this a matter of any 
moment. When all was explained, and they 
had realized and accepted the bouleversevzent, 
discussion ran hi^h. Mrs. Ouin was de- 
lighted to have some one to condemn openly, 
as a vent for personal discomfited spleen, 
and arrayed herself ostentatiously against 
Juliet. The others, without exception, took 
her part, declaring her to be fully justified, 
not only in giving up Ormrod, but in at 
once marrying Doctor Thoms. It would 
ensure her against Ormrod's future advances, 
and give her the necessary impetus to forget 
him, at the same time as the Doctor's gene- 
rosity, would enforce love and trust where 
both would be worthily bestowed. But 
there was naturally, in the whole affair, much 
food for speculation and perplexity. What 



278 JULIET. 

had happened must have been so unforeseen 
by all those most closely concerned. Lily 
knew that Juliet had gone out in the morning 
to meet Ormrod in Ouesia Valley ; Ouin 

**-*• j * ***** 

testified that she had spoken of him during 
breakfast, with affectionate confidence ; Henry 
Mompesson swore she was no jilt, though 
that was what it looked, on the face of it. 
Who was the woman with whom she had 
caught him ? This was precisely what Brun- 
skill did not know. But Isabel leapt to the 
just conclusion. She had met Mrs. St. Paul in 
the corridor, and stayed chatting, and during 
that chat it had transpired that Evelyn was 
travelling with her. She and Brunskill thus 
were the least confused ; Brunskill, because 
he knew other things of Ormrod, and had 
only discovered him at his old courses, and 
Isabel, because she remembered the gossip 
that had reached her, months previously. 

Juliet did not appear again that day, 
but Doctor Thorns dined with them. He 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 279 

was pale, but otherwise looked as usual. 
Congratulation was avoided, it being impos- 
sible to treat in the ordinary way, extraor- 
dinary circumstances which were impressing 
them all more deeply each moment in which 
they noted his calm ; unpreoccupied ease. 
Had they not known him so well, they would 
have set him down as a phlegmatic and 
matter-of-fact wooer, in whom success stirred 
no emotion, and anticipation no pulsing thrill 
of impatience. But they all knew him, and 
surrounded his Present with a halo of ro- 
mance, imagining what must have been his 
patience and self-abnegation and steadfast 
watchful devotion, that he could thus have 
been content to wait, putting self aside, with 
circling thought ever encompassing her ; and 
at last, in the supreme moment of her agony 
and grief and bewilderment, placing himself 
before her as a refuge and a safeguard, and 
rising to the vast emergency from which 
another man would have turned and shrunk 



280 JULIET. 

away, fearful of compromising himself — even 
allowing cowardice to canker love, and well- 
ni^h revolting from a sorrow in which he 
had no part. 

After dinner, the Doctor went up to 
Isabel, who was sitting in the window, talk- 
ing to Brunskill. 

" I have a favour to ask," he said. " I 
wouldn't, if you were not one of the best 
and sweetest women I know. Don't to 

o 

away, Mompesson," he added, as Brunskill 
moved. " Stay and chat with me, while Mrs. 
Harry does my behest. There is a lonely 
woman not far away, Bel. Be her good 
Samaritan, and give my true love to her. 
Will you ? " 

Isabel rose at once, with a quick nod 
and smile ; and they watched her cross the 
room. Her husband had come forward to 
open the door, and, as she passed him. a 
glance was exchanged between them that 
both lookers-on, in their own fulfilment o{ 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 281 

sacred hope, felt to hold a touch of the 
divine. Doctor Thorns turned to Bruns- 
kill, with a scrutinizing glance, that brought 
the tell-tale colour with a rush to his 
face. 

" Ah ! ' he said, with a pathetic ring of 
satisfaction in his voice, " how certain it is, 
that everything comes to him who knows 
how to wait ! We shall be a quartett ot 
neighbours soon." 

When Isabel entered Juliet's room, she 
found her kneeling on the floor, before a 
large packing-case ; and almost before Juliet 
was conscious of her presence she had 
reached her, and, stooping, kissed her 
silently. The loving action, the contact 
with true womanliness, and that dependent 
craving for sympathy, which, in such crises 
of a life, is uncontrollable, brought Juliet 
instantly to her feet, and made her fling her 
arms round Isabel's neck the more vehe- 
mently, from the sudden sense that this was 



282 JULIET. 

what she had been loncrino- for. Isabel 
stood and grasped her, returning her hys- 
terical kisses, conscious that she wished to 
hide her face until she could control its ex- 
pression and trust her voice ; and glad, on 
her own part, to gain time to realize this 
new Juliet, who was trembling and quivering 
under loss of self-possession and a confusion 
of a^onizinof self-consciousness and self-dis- 
trust and dependency. 

"What do you think?' Juliet asked, 
withdrawing suddenly from the protective 
embrace, and crazing a t ] ler w ith searching, 

limpid eyes. 

" I think it is no longer only a chance 
that you will be happy," said Isabel, ear- 
nestly. 

" Ah ! don't you, too, think of me alone — 
think of him. He thinks only of me," she 
said, clasping her hands. 

" It is one and the same thinsf. dear." 

" Then he is not debasing himself by 



u FORTUXE, TURN THY WHEEL" 28. 



taking me now, at last, after all ? He must 
not debase himself. Some might call me a 
jilt. What other man would take me now ? 
— only half of me, it would seem to them. 
I have been thinking about it all ; I have 
even wondered if it were possible that it 
is out of pity, and because he loved me 
once ; and that misled me, and 1 presumed 
upon it? And he may not have loved me 
now, but forced himself to — to keep it up, 
when he saw " 

"He would tell you — assure you — that 
he loved you." 

" To-day he said, ' / trust you ; ' but 
there was so much more than " 

She stopped, conscious of her incoherency 
and vital anxiety. 

" Then the other, lay beneath that, as a 
matter of course," said Isabel, firmly. " Would 
he have cared to think of trusting a woman 
at such a crisis if it had not to imply every- 
thing ? Don't worry, dear. He sent me 



284 JULIET. 

here with his true love. Is not that suf- 
ficient ? " 

" His true love," Juliet repeated, in a low- 
tone of lingering emphasis. She was greatly 
excited, and had never in her life looked 
more beautiful. She was no longer pale and 
calm, but flushed and restless ; her eyes were 
bright, and full of strange shifting lights, 
which misgiving scarcely seemed to quench 
into momentary shadow. She was looking 
at Isabel without seeing her, and had thrown 
her arms up and clasped her hands on her 
hair, in a feverish effort at self-control, that 
seemed almost delirious. In this way she 
walked to and fro for some minutes, Isabel 
watching her, and wondering whether her 
thoughts ran in the groove of the Past more 
than that of the Present — wondering, indeed, 
if there were wisdom and safety in the course 
events had taken, or whether misery were 
beckoning these two, in seductive guise, to 
inevitable shipwreck. Put her doubts were 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 285 

quickly set at rest. Juliet suddenly dropped 
her arms, stood motionless, and then went 
up to her toilette-table. An open letter lay 
there, and this she took up and gave to 
Isabel, without embarrassment or flinching-. 

" Read it," she said, more quietly. " It 
is from Mr. Ormrod." 

Isabel read. It was an impassioned 
appeal for forgiveness, with raving assur- 
ances of undying affection, an imploring de- 
mand to be allowed to see her, the vehement 
declaration that he must and would see her, 
cutting denunciation of Evelyn, and a wild 
assertion that he would yet conquer her, if 
only by a pertinacious dogging of her steps 
that should prove that she was his one end 
and aim in existence. She contrasted it all 
mentally with Doctor Thorns' patient self- 
control and ultimatum of fine calm, and in 
concluding, what in her own mind she stio-- 
matized as melodramatic, she looked up, 
and met Juliet's searching gaze fixed upon 



286 JULIET. 

her, with an intensity which she recognized 
at once, as coming more from the mind than 
the heart. 

"It is all very natural," she said. ''Of 
course, he does not for a moment think that 
the great obstacle to it all, is the simple fact 
that you no longer care to be the end and 
aim of his existence. That fact simplifies 
everything for you ; but it complicates it for 
him." 

11 Yes ; but onlv this morning I cared to 
be that, above all earthly things. And I am 
not a changeable woman. ,: 

" There is sometimes a wider difference 
than this, between morning and night." 

" I am thankful it was not death. Death 
would not have done this for me or for 
Humphrey — yes, for Humphrey," she re- 
peated. Then, going close to Isabel, she 
put her hands on her shoulders and looked 
into her face. " Am I unwomanly ? ' she 
asked, almost in a whisper. 



''FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL:' 287 

But it was impossible for Isabel to follow 
all the intricate workings of a mind always 
acutely sensitive to moral influences, and for 
the first time distrustful of itself and groping 
after renewed confidence, as yet unconscious 
that it could only now come through her 
husband's guidance and control. She could, 
however, act out of her own code of simple 
frank womanliness, and with a comforting- 
caressing gesture, she drew Juliet to her, 
and kissed her again, with tears in her eyes 
and a tremble of her lips. 

" Dearest," she said, " I think God Him- 
self has interposed for your happiness. Be 
still, and be thankful." 

" I am! I am!" Juliet rejoined, as simply. 
<r I am longing for Coombe — for the Rectory. 
I have determined many things. He shall 
be very happy. It shall be a true home." 

" And you ?' Isabel said, affectionately. 

" I shall too ; I cannot but be. I shall 
never forget what he was to me this morn- 



288 JULIET. 

ing ; but it shall not be gratitude only. He 
is too good. Oh ! I could never tell you the 
half of what he has been to me ! Now go, 
Bel. I want you to give him this letter, for 
him to answer it as he thinks best, and then 
to burn it. As he thinks best" she repeated, 
dreamily. " I can trust his judgment before 
my own, you see ; yes, fully. And, Bel, 
give him my faithful remembrances. Good 
night ! " 

Left to herself, and feeling strengthened 
and comforted, as though in working off 
some of her overwhelming excitement, she 
had gathered the support of confidence and 
exaltation, Juliet found that she could endure 
to be quiet, and to sit down and think. For 
the last few hours she had done nothing but 
move restlessly about, pacing up and down 
the room, with her hands clasped behind her 
and shining eyes gazing into vacancy. After 
Doctor Thorns left her she had sobbed un- 
controllably for a long time, abandoning her- 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 289 

self to the wonderful min^lin^ of grief and 
gratitude, which had swept into her soul at 
full flood, and borne everything down before 
it. She had not attempted to persuade her- 
self that she loved Doctor Thorns, but she 
had realized with astonishment that she had 
no love left for Ormrod. Her whole nature 
revolted against the part he had played ; she 
saw nothing but the mental picture of the 
two, seated close together on the seat in the 
shade of the chestnut wood, Evelyn looking 
up at him, he looking down at her, as their 
lips met in the kiss which had well-nigh 
turned her to stone where she stood ; she 
heard nothing but his traitorous words, sug- 
gestive even of more treachery than met the 
ear and the eye. These haunted herj but 
how much more, the simple generosity of 
Humphrey Thorns, when once she began to 
force that picture into the background, and 
resolve, with all the strength of will at her 

command, to live it down and forget it, and 
vol. in. 19 



2 9 o JULIET. 

rise from her "dead self to better things." 
The more she thought, the more did his 
generosity assume its just proportions and 
value. Her one idea in making the propo- 
sition she had so recklessly made, had been 
that he would take her away, that she would 
get away, have some one to rely upon, and 
be saved the distress and hardening anguish 
of eoine home to Marshlands with her 
hipped and ruined life. Had he taken her 
dispassionately at her word, possessed her 
without a moment's hesitation, and acquiesced 
gratefully in whatever she wished, there 
would have been slight chance that he would 
ever have eained her heart's treasure. Their 
marriage would have been to her, a mere 
refuge ; to him, a harassing compensation ; 
she would have accepted his attentions as a 
matter of course, scarcely rising to the point 
of appreciating them ; and his unvarying 
tender solicitude, would have gnawed at his 
own vitals, for want of reciprocation. Hut 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 291 

the tone in which he had uttered her name 
before turning from her, had discovered a 
new world to her, a world whose infinite, far- 
reaching possibilities, had been revealed as 
by a lightning flash, and made her stretch 
forth her hands to seize it, as the one point 
worth gaining, for foot-hold and hope in 
chaos. She knew now, that only had he 
eluded her detaining grasp and disappeared 
from her horizon, would true desolation have 
overtaken her. He did not know the frenzy 
of despair and prayer, that had clutched her 
during the long moment of his hesitation ; 
still less could he yet realize the devotion 
and high endeavour and unswerving reliance, 
which she would pour into his life, sustained 
by the exalting gratitude that would gene- 
rate love and illumine their joint lives into 
perfect harmony. 

She spent most of the night in writing 
letters ; among others a long one to her 
mother, and one to Miss Gliddon. A bundle 



292 JULIET. 

of ■ Ormrod's letters, she burnt without re- 
reading them ; and made up a packet of her 
ring: and other things he had driven her. 
Almost at daybreak, she drew up the blind, 
and kneeling in the window, with her face 
upturned to the star-lit sky, gave herself up to 
a communion that was not so much of prayer, 
as of self-examination and discipline. When 
she rose again, cramped and chill in body, 
but calm mentally, she went to bed, and 
slept a dreamless sleep. 

The ensuing days passed quickly and 

quietly. Doctor Thorns had much to arrange, 

and was constantly busy with letters and 

telegrams. Nothing happened beyond their 

lono- talks together, and nothing was heard 

of Ormrod. The Dalyrymples left in a 

hurry, and Harvard alone knew that they 

were again in the same town as Ormrod. 

He had had a wild letter from Ormrod 

intended to point to suicide, but, to the more 

balanced judgment of his friend, pointing 



''FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 293 

to the calmer possibility of consolation in 
matrimony. In fact, there was no doubt 
that Evelyn would run her prey to earth 
before long, and that he would have to yield 
to the meshes he had helped to weave. Flat- 
tery, cajolement, persuasion, persistency, were 
tools which Evelyn would not hesitate to 
wield ; besides which, his was just the base 
nature to think he should regain lost dignity 
and self-respect, by proving to the world that 
if one woman would not have him, another 
would. In the meantime it pleased him to 
curse himself, and dub himself broken- 
hearted, to rave of what his infatuation had 
lost, to write melodramatic answers to 
Doctor Thorns' trite announcement of his 
eneaeement — answers which he dared to 
send, as little as he dared again to write to 
Juliet; and to brood despairingly over the 
approaching wedding-day. 

At last that day dawned. Quin went 
with Juliet to the Consulate, the others were 



294 JULIET. 

already there. She entered the room with a 
composure, in which none but the closest 
observer could detect anything different to 
her usual composure ; and of these close 
observers, there w r ere only two. Brunskill, 
remembering her at Moorhead a year ago, at 
once perceived that she had found her olive- 
branch ; Doctor Thorns felt, rather than saw, 
that she had found her happiness. 

She wore the dress she had worn when 
Doctor Thorns found her in the moonlit 
glade at Coombe. This she did designedly, 
to please him, for he had talked of it since. 
It was a pale, ivory-tinted gown, made simply ; 
and there was heliotrope mingled with the 
bridal flowers at her throat and in her hand. 
As she advanced, the perfume seemed to 
scent the whole room. She came forward with 
Ouin, her tall figure slightly bent and moving 
with the slow swimming motion peculiar to 
her. 

Her eyes were downcast, but every 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEELS 295 

one could see her face, and its expression 
of sweet steadfastness. 

When they reached the group gathered 
round the table, she looked up suddenly, 
and there was that, in the deep and limpid 
calm of her dark eyes, as they rested with 
a grave smile of recognition on one after 
another, that made them realize once more, 
that she was a beautiful woman, who must 
command admiration everywhere. Nothing 
could have suited her better than the subtle 
colour of this gown, with its touches of 
flowers and lace. It made her into a pic- 
ture, enhancing the olive of her skin, and 
the flush on either cheek, and the shine of 
her eyes. They all shook hands with her 
silently ; Isabel kissing her. Lily was in 
white, and carried a basket of oranee 
blossoms. Juliet did not know until weeks 
afterwards, that she had acted as her brides- 
maid, for although she looked at them, she 
scarcely saw them. It was like a dream, 



296 * JULIET. 

the only thing of which she was distinctly 
conscious, being the grasp of her hand by 
Doctor Thorns, and his eyes steadfastly 
fixed on hers, and seeming to pierce into her 
very soul. 

Afterwards there was a momentary buzz 
of congratulation, she heard herself addressed 
by a new name, a cloak was thrown round 
her ; and, still held by that firm grasp, she 
went downstairs, and entered the carriage. 
They returned to the hotel, then drove to 
the station, and in half an hour were on 
the way to Turin. She was alone with her 
husband. 

As yet, he had scarcely spoken to her, 
but his presence seemed to encompass her. 
She had been feeling, with a curious mixture 
of content and amazement, that she was, for 
the first time in her life, a passive agent ; 
doubt, fear, misgiving, independency, all 
seemed to have merged into the sense, so 
comforting and natural to a woman's heart, 



"FORTUNE, TURN THY WHEEL." 297 

that she was looked after, thought of, and 
cared for. Undoubtedly she had yielded 
herself up to a stronger than she, and was 
now to find more safety in following, than 
in leading. But it was impossible that she 
should realize all yet ; or drift at once into 
the new current, that was bearing her wholly 
away from the old moorings. She was, 
however, content to wait, to rest, and to rely, 
where she knew instinctively, that reliance 
was safe ; and when it struck her now, dawn- 
ing with a spring-like flush of fresh life, 
that he wanted her to look at him, to 
meet his eyes fully and freely, and to give 
some sign, some little sign, of at least 
content, she found the power was at her 
command. 

That still sweet glance of hers, with its 
fathomable depth of shyness and trust, 
thrilled him to his heart's core. He leant 
forward, drew her cloak more closely round 
her, then sought her hand and held it. 



298 JULIET. 

But it seemed to both of them that they 
could not talk. There are times in our 
lives, when silence is more eloquent than 
speech. 



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